HE’S faced cancer twice – and now grandfather Malcolm Davidson has conquered one of the world’s most difficult cycling feats.
The 71-year-old completed the toughest stage in the Tour de France for the 14th time, despite being given months to live last year.
The pensioner from Rothwell, Leeds, battled searing 42C (108F) heat to ride the 85-mile Cingles du Mont Ventoux in eight hours and 40 minutes, raising thousands for charity.
Mr Davidson, known affectionately as “Mad Mal”, said: “It felt amazing to get to that finish line.
“I felt ecstatic during that final ascent, knowing I had completed my challenge – going through those bends at 45mph was fantastic. My motivation during the challenge was to think ‘How low and weak did I feel during chemotherapy, compared to today, doing this mighty challenge?’ The chemotherapy was always the worst of the two.”
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 but in January last year was diagnosed with the incurable asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.
But the keen cyclist was still determined to complete this leg of the race – described by seven-time race winner Lance Armstrong as ‘the toughest climb you can take on in France’.
Mr Davidson added: “I’m just determined to keep going, and keeping fit can only help my chances.
“I also couldn’t do it without those around me – my wife and family, and my cycling group, the Seacroft Wheelers, have all been more supportive than I could ever imagine.”
Law firm Irwin Mitchell is helping him to fight for compensation from his former employers over he exposure to asbestos.
Mr Davidson is raising cash for prostate cancer and mesothelioma charities. To donate go to www.justgiving.com/cingles or: www.justgiving.com/Malcolm-Davidson2.