"Marian cycylists to compete in Race 2 Replace

Ten years and seven Tour de France wins after first being diagnosed with testicular cancer, Lance Armstrong may have retired from professional cycling, but his commitment to helping others with cancer “live strong” is not diminished.

Since its inception, the Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised nearly $150 million for cancer research and support programs, including grants to the Riley Hospital for Children and the Indiana Medical Center where Armstrong underwent his successful treatment regimen.

On Saturday, Aug. 12, Armstrong returns to Indianapolis to help raise awareness and money for his foundation. In the morning, there will be a 10-lap competitive Race 2 Replace around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile track in which cyclists will compete to win a spot on the Discovery Pro Cycling team at this year’s pro championships in Greenville, S.C., on Sept. 1, 2006.

Along with many of the country’s best competitive cyclists, several members of the Marian College Cycling team will compete in the Race 2 Replace. An eight-time Division I national championship squad, the Marian College Cycling Team has a history and commitment to winning local, regional and national competitions.

The 16-member team is made up of some of the country’s best young cyclists, including Jake Rytlewski, Jonathon Swain, Jon Royal and Tom Hanley, all top 10 finishers in last year’s Midwest Conference Men’s A Class, as well as Abby Brearton, Kristen Siebenlist and Michelle Koger, conference leaders in Women’s A Class Cycling.

“There’s a history of cancer in my family, and I’m excited to support the things the Lance Armstrong Foundation is doing,” says Marian cyclist Michelle Koger, who will compete at Race 2 Replace. She looks forward to both the cause and the competition.

“I’m really excited about the race and think the whole idea is really cool. It’s a chance to raise money, but also a chance to ride against some great competitors,” she says.

Race 2 Replace is not the only way in which Marian College cyclists are supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The team will deepen its mission by riding and racing throughout the season to raise money for the LAF through donations made to match the miles covered by the team over the season from late August 2006 to May 2007.

“Not only will we be focusing on competition, but this year we’re adding a deeper element of compassion to our racing and riding with a cause,” says Dean Peterson, head cycling coach for Marion College.

“I estimate that the team will ride about 50,000 miles this year. The goal is to raise $5,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation by the end of the season by collecting pennies or whatever else we can for each mile we ride,” Peterson said.

Cyclists at all levels can do their part to support the Lance Armstrong Foundation alongside the Marian cyclists this weekend. Those not quite up for the challenge of competing for a spot on the Discovery Channel team but who still want to come and experience the thrill of riding on the famous Indy speedway can sign up to do a lap around the IMS with Armstrong. The champion will be leading a lap around the track immediately following the Race 2 Replace competition. All riders 13 years and older are invited to participate for a $40 donation.

There is no admission fee for the day-long event, which will also include vendors and musical entertainment, including a performance by Collective Soul. All proceeds from the cycling registration costs for both the competition and the lap around the track with Armstrong benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Indiana University Cancer Center.




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