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Smale rides the hills with Angus in mind

Blood cancer survivor Joe Smale (pictured above second from the left) was just one of the 24,000 cyclists who rode the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive in pursuit of personal satisfaction and charity pounds today. But he may well have been the proudest of all to reach the finish.

The 19-year-old from Chiswick was one of the 19-strong Team Angus group who were riding for the event’s Charity of the Year Bloodwise in memory of Angus Rowlands, who died of leukaemia aged 13 six years ago.

Joe and Angus became best buddies when waiting for stem cell transplant treatment at London’s University College Hospital six years ago, playing video games and guitar together as they bonded over their childhood battles against leukaemia.

Angus sadly died, but Joe survived and has spent the last six years raising money to help find a cure for a condition that still kills 14,000 people a year in the UK.

“I was thinking about Angus all the way round,” said Joe after completing the 100-mile challenge through the closed roads of London and over the rolling Surrey hills.

“He was in my mind most of the way but especially going up Leith Hill. I was thinking about anything, to be honest just to get me up there.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” he added. “I would definitely do it again. It’s amazing to think even physically I can cycle 100 miles, never mind in an event like this.”

Smale even resisted the temptation to stop for a coffee when he passed the end of his street in west London, pushing on to reach the finish in front of Buckingham Palace with his dad, Tim, and Angus’s father, Jonathan.

“We split up a good few times but we managed to find each other,” said Sam. “Flying down the hills and not stopping at traffic lights was great fun. And there was great support for all the charities.”

Team Angus hope to raise more than £10,000 for Bloodwise from today’s leg-busting efforts.