Football Legend Joins Sportive Line-Up

Football Legend Joins Sportive Line-Up

Derby County Football Club Under 21 coach Rory Delap will be among the hundreds of cyclists taking part in the North Derby Challenge Sportive on Sunday September 17.

Mr Delap’s professional football career included 11 appearances for the Republic of Ireland national team and contracts with Derby County, Carlisle United, Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City, Barnsley and Burton Albion.

A midfielder by trade, he was renowned for his long throw-in ability, fitness and work rate. He has been back in Derby since retiring from playing in 2015 and has since taken up cycling to stay fit.

Mr Delap will tackle the ultimate 160km route which is one of four distances that sportive entrants can choose from as well as the 40km, 80km and 120km. 

All routes start from Markeaton Park and head out to Carsington Reservoir with the longer distances winding through the Peak District before returning to Markeaton Park. There are regular food and water stations along the routes, supported by Springs Cleaning and High 5 Nutrition.

Entries close at midday on Thursday September 14 for the North Derbyshire Challenge cycle sportive which is organised by Cycle Derby and HUUB Events,

Mr Delap said: “Playing football for so many years has taken its toll on my back, knees and ankles so running is out of the question and I have increasingly built up my distances on the bike to stay fit.

“I did a few rides for charity whilst I was still playing but I take it more seriously now that I have retired and aim to do up to 100 miles a week.

“I particularly like the social aspect of cycling as you can head out on the bikes with a group of mates and chat along the way.

“It’s a great way of seeing the countryside that we often take for granted and is also an excuse to use all the gadgets that are available to measure distances, speed and heart rate!

“This will be my first sportive and I hope that some of the other cycling enthusiasts from the club will join me – although I hear that everyone at the sportive is very friendly and you tend to team up with others on the same route and who want to go at a similar pace.”

As well as individuals riding in the event, the Geldards Team Challenge is an opportunity for up to ten cyclists to work together in an attempt to travel the greater distance.

The tie-breaker in the event of a draw in the Team Challenge will be the King and Queen of the Mountain challenge, sponsored by Derby-based Document Network Services (DNS), which will see a 700m uphill stretch laid with timing chip technology and then the fastest male and female riders winning the title.

Claire Duffin from HUUB Events said: “We are delighted that Rory is joining the sportive for the first time and I am sure he will get the ‘bug’ and join the scores of other cyclists from across the Midlands who return for our twice-yearly events based at Markeaton Park.

“Sportives are a great social event with a competitive edge.  It is not a race but a personal challenge with the options of riding either as an individual or as part of a team.”

Mr Delap plans to raise money for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice in Stoke-on-Trent of which he is Patron.

The event’s main charity Ashgate HospiceCare, a charity based in North Derbyshire, who provide care and support to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. The Sporting Joint, where Mr Delap’s wife Helen works, will be in the event village offering sports massage to riders on their return with donations made to the charity.

To enter the North Derbyshire Challenge, visit

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