Bike race in memory of Stevenage cycling champion

THE manager of a British cycling champion who collapsed and died suddenly, aged 21, has completed a 1,230km bike race to raise money for charity in his memory.

Peter Bissell, of Ripon Road in Stevenage, was with three friends at The Standard Bearer pub in the town centre when he collapsed and died on December 29, 2007.

The cause of his death was recorded as asthma.

Peter Ruffhead, Mr Bissell’s manager, first met the cyclist, a former pupil of The Nobel School in Stevenage, in 2004.

He had received the Chris Boardman Trophy that year and was joint first in the Junior National 10 Mile Time Trial Championships.

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Mr Ruffhead was looking for riders to add to Arctic Shorter Rochford – the racing team he was managing – and took Mr Bissell on.

During the three years he was with the team, Mr Bissell won the National Junior Hill Climb Championship in 2004, helped win the National Hill Climb Team Championship in 2005, won the British National Espoirs (under 23) Road Race in 2006 and helped win the National Hill Climb Team Championship in 2007.

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Mr Ruffhead has cycled from Paris to Brest in France and back again – 1,230km in 87 hours 21 minutes – and raised �950 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in memory of Mr Bissell.

CRY is a charity which raises awareness of conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death in young people and sudden adult death syndrome.

Mr Bissell’s father, Dave, explained that the charity was chosen because “young hopefuls will benefit from regular health checks”.

Speaking about the race, Mr Ruffhead said: “I know Peter would be so proud of the effort, even though the event was quite extreme!

“Peter gave me the strength when I felt tired and made me turn the pedals easier.”

He continued: “Sometimes it is good to take time out for charity. There are so many things in life that need a little support and awareness, no matter how much is raised.”

You can still sponsor Mr Ruffhead at

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