Highbury boy sets cycling record after climbing French and Italian mountains in one weekend
PUBLISHED: 07:30 10 November 2016
One record-breaking mountain ascent just wasn't enough for Alfie Earl - the Highbury youngster has now completed two more in the space of three days.
Alfie became the youngest cyclist to successfully ascend the 12-mile Col du Tourmalet – the highest mountain pass in the Pyrenees – in June at the age of just eight.
Having turned nine in August, he has followed that up by climbing the notoriously difficult Alpine peak Mont Ventoux and then the Passo dello Stelvio – Italy’s highest mountain – over the same weekend.
Riding alongside his dad Steve, Alfie – a student at St Joan of Arc RC Primary School – managed to negotiate the dual challenge despite windy, wet and near freezing conditions.
Steve Earl told the Gazette: “After Alfie got into cycling and managed to make it up the Col du Tourmalet, he was fired up even more when another eight-year-old achieved the same feat just a few months later.
“He told me he wanted to do something even more difficult – to ride up the hardest mountain in France and the highest one in Italy, so he’d be the youngest to have made it up three of the most legendary peaks in cycling.
“Then came the big shock – he wanted to do them in a weekend. It was all his idea, it was a bit bonkers, and we weren’t completely sure he could do it.
“But he was so gutsy and determined both to achieve what people thought was barely possible and to show other kids that by gritting your teeth you can do amazing things.
“We felt we had to support him by driving him down there at the start of our half-term holiday and, while it was a big struggle, the smile when he got to the top of each mountain was well worth it.”
Alfie, who has been cycling since the age of three, reached the summit of Mont Ventoux – approximately 13.5 miles – in just over four hours before conquering the 16-mile Stelvio in around five hours.
His next major target is the London-to-Paris ride in the summer of 2017, which he hopes to undertake alongside his father and sister Saskia, 12.
The siblings have previously completed the 44-mile Tour de Flanders to raise more than £2,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, where their younger brother Ivan underwent life-saving heart surgery.