A group of cycling Celts are aiming to mark the 20th anniversary of the fantastic achievements of Celtic’s 2002/03 squad, which reached the UEFA Cup final in Seville. From Celtic Park to Seville, the group will cycle more than 1,000 miles over approximately two weeks, arriving at Estadio Olímpico de Sevilla, ahead of the anniversary on Sunday, May 21, 2023.
The same group originally followed the path of the most successful Celtic squad in history, by taking part in the Road to Lisbon cycle back in 2017, cycling from Paradise to the Estádio Nacional in Lisbon, where Billy McNeill, of course, lifted the giant trophy for the Hoops on May 25, 1967. The group raised an astonishing total in the region of £80,000 through their efforts.
Back then, two supporters devised the trip and agreed that the 50th anniversary of the Bhoys’ triumph should be marked by a once-in-a-lifetime event, which could raise a large sum of money for charities close to their hearts, including Celtic FC Foundation, and so, the Road to Lisbon was born.
Following the phenomenal success of the cycle, a number of the group got together once again to plan the Road to Milan cycle for May 2020, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Club’s achievement of reaching a second European Cup final in 1970. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cycle was unable to take place. However, as we now look ahead to the 20th anniversary of the wonderful achievement of Martin O’Neill’s legendary team, the group, which includes many of the original Road to Lisbon cyclists, have once again set out to mark the occasion.
Clare Sweeney, one of those helping to organise the cycle said: “We are excited to be on the road again raising much needed funds for Celtic FC Foundation. The Road to Lisbon was an epic adventure and when the idea of marking the Road to Seville surfaced it was an easy decision to make.”
Clare joins 17 other cyclists who took part in Road to Lisbon and will be now cycling to Seville, and both her and her dad, John, are taking a hands on approach to the trip. Clare continued by saying: “My dad, who again is taking part, first bought me a bike which started the ball rolling with Lisbon and will continue in Seville. In between these trips, we have had a few meet ups, and are now a big Celtic cycling family open to anyone who’d like to join us. It will be another memorable adventure and I would recommend it to anyone.”
The group is aiming to add to their original batch from Lisbon and would like to have in the region of 30 participants committed to cycling the 1,050 miles to Seville. They are hoping to attract cyclists keen to join them on the full cycle, as well as those who want to cycle certain sections of the route and also volunteers who can offer a helping hand in any way.
Provisionally, the group plan to meet at Celtic Park on Saturday, May 6, 2023 where they will set off on their mammoth challenge. They will then cycle to Cairnryan, where they will board the ferry to Belfast. Cycling through Ireland, the group will be taking in some key points of interest before ending their Ireland leg in Rosslare. Here, they will then board their next ferry to Bilbao in northern Spain before finally cycling on to Seville.
There will be approximately 14 days of cycling, totalling 1,050 miles:
Celtic Park to Cairnryan – 90 miles
Belfast to Rosslare – 330 miles
Bilbao to Seville – 630 miles
The estimated core cost to take part in the trip will be £2,600 per cyclist (based on 30 participants) and this will be confirmed once numbers have been finalised.
The package will include the following:
- Travel and accommodation from Glasgow to Seville (return travel is not included – there are several airports in southern Spain and Gibraltar, which have direct flights to various destinations in the UK)
- All meals from Glasgow to Seville
- Support from Greenrock who will support the trip, providing:
– Detailed route planner
– Support on the road from experienced staff, a mini bus and transit van
– Luggage transfer from Glasgow to Seville
– Mechanical and first aid support
– Bike return to the UK
There are some non-core costs over and above the £2,600 which will vary from person to person, according to personal choice, including:
- Kit – unique R2S cycling kit will be available to buy. Typically, one cycle jersey will be supplied to everyone covered by corporate sponsorship but cyclists are free to buy additional items
- Seville celebrations – the group plan to coordinate or join some form of celebratory events in Seville
- Return travel – once the celebrations are over, everyone is free to do their own thing. The opportunity to relax in Spain for a few days is an option and all participants must arrange their own return travel
All participants will be expected to fundraise for Celtic FC Foundation throughout their participation and each will be provided with instructions on how to set up an online fundraising page and a sponsor form. If you would like to make a donation towards the group’s efforts, you can do so HERE.
If you would like to join the cycle or a section of it, provide volunteer support or even become a corporate sponsor for the Road to Seville cycle, please do get in touch via their website: Road to Seville 23