13-year-old cyclist diagnosed with cancer meets her hero Geraint Thomas

Evie Hartley, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the start of the year, got to grill her favourite rider

At the start of 2021, 13-year-old cyclist Evie Hartley was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour.

Evie, hugely popular member of Ilkeston Cycle Club in Derbyshire, has been undergoing intensive chemotherapy and has spent long spells in hospital since her diagnosis.

To offer a boost to Evie during her treatment, British team Ineos Grenadiers decided to step in and give her a surprise - a Zwift session with her favourite cyclist, 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas. 

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Ineos said: “At the start of 2021, 13 year-old Evie Hartley was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour. Ever since, she's inspired everyone around her and tackled her treatment head on.

“So, with the help of her favourite cyclist, we put together a little treat for her…”

During their virtual ride, cycling fan Evie asked Thomas for some tips on how to turn professional, she explained her dream of visiting the Alpe d’Huez and the Tour of Flanders.

Evie’s cycling Ilkeston CC, winner of the 2020 Club of the Year at the Cycling Weekly Awards, have launched a fundraising campaign to support Evie’s chosen charity, Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia group, which funds research into cancer treatments for children and young people.

So far, the club have raised a staggering £9,549 for the charity, with plans for more fundraising events in the works.

You can view the fundraising page here.  (opens in new tab)

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Emma Pilgrim, who set up the fundraising campaign, said: “Evie is a valued member of Ilkeston Cycle Club.  Not only a talented member of our youth academy but also a regular at our club events, often racing against adults (and keeping them on their toes).  The younger members of the academy look up to her and the older members are inspired by her. 

“Evie is totally inspirational, graciously accepting her reality with optimism, determination  and maturity beyond her years and even in the darkest of times she continues to light up a room with her smile and positivity.” 

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.