Charity cyclists backed by Deputy PM

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CYCLISTS, including a South Yorkshire race champion, have been given a send-off by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as they head Stateside to help a team of wounded servicemen riding in the Race Across America 2012.

Elite cyclist Kevin Dawson, from Doncaster, who has been race riding for 22 years and is a former British champion distance cyclist, is part of the Strategic Lions team who will help wounded and injured servicemen taking part in the epic challenge for the first time.

The Strategic Lions team, who won Ride Across America last year, have spent the last nine months mentoring Team Battle Back RAAM 2012, set up by the Help for Heroes charity.

They will also ride the race themselves and hope to beat the record time of five days, nine hours and three minutes, which they narrowly missed out on last year, by 11 minutes.

The eight-man team consists of four double amputees riding on hand-bikes and four cyclists on upright bikes.

Mr Clegg commended them for their ‘steely determination and tireless fundraising efforts’.

The 3,000-mile challenge begins on Saturday, June 16.

Mr Clegg said: “Strategic Lions have toiled and trained tirelessly to raise cash for brave British troops who’ve been wounded fighting for our country and the freedom of others.

“Not only have they trained for their own 3,000-mile challenge, but they’ve mentored a team of injured ex-forces veterans too.”