Sid Valley is training ground for ‘Ciclismo Italiano’ fundraiser

James Salter, Jake Cope, Emma Salter and Steve Hackett

James Salter, Jake Cope, Emma Salter and Steve Hackett - Credit: Archant

A trio will once again follow in the tracks of their cycling heroes as they complete the last of three ‘grand tours’ this summer.

James Salter, Steve Hackett and Jake Cope will ride 1,000 miles through Italy over 13 days – after riding though France in 2014 and thinking ‘never again’ in Spain last year.

They decided to ride the Ligne de France before they realised it could be a fundraiser and ended up netting £1,500 for Help for Heroes and the RNLI.

The cyclists trebled their £1,000 target in Spain last year and hope to raise another £3,000 for the MS Society this year, as James’ mother-in-law, Carole Swindells, suffers from multiple sclerosis.

James, who has been using the Sid Valley as his training ground, said: “If we make it through Italy this will replicate the three ‘grand tours’ that that pros do.

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“A grand tour is the pinnacle of cycling – a three-week race encompassing a whole country.

“We wanted to get Italy done as it felt like it was looming over us, we were still missing something. When it’s done we’ll have some time to bask in our achievements.

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“That or come up with an even more stupid idea – a little bigger but with less cycling heritage, maybe.”

Riding in September, they hope to avoid the 45-degree heat they faced one day in Spain but will face a steep challenge, ending with four days climbing the Dolomites.

They will finish by tackling the Stelvio Pass – at more than 2,700 metres is 16 times the height of Salcombe Hill.

They will be supported by Emma Salter, who was James’ girlfriend in France, his fiancée in Spain and is now his wife.

Of her mum’s condition, she said: “It has been getting steadily worse, unfortunately. The biggest changes are to her memory and personality, which is especially sad and painful.

“She is very positive in her outlook, and happy in herself and her life, which is the most important thing. But it’s definitely her memory and also her logic and reasoning skills that have deteriorated the most in the past year.

“It’s been a big adjustment but we’re getting there.”

To sponsor the trio, visit to support the fundraiser.

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