Lance Armstrong has done it, Robbie McEwen has done it, Michele Bartoli has done it, now some of Ireland's top cyclists have bared all, this time in the name of charity. Local riders and international stars recently posed for a nude calendar in aid of the Baby Care Special Unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Ireland.
The brainchild of racing cyclist Gerard Cromwell, publisher of Irish Cycling News magazine, the calendar has attracted the interest of the local business community in Drogheda and surrounding areas and hopes to raise as much money as possible for the unit. "My daughter spent a short time in the unit in 2000, after she was born," said Cromwell, "And while she was only in for a few days, I realised there are a lot of newborn babies a worse off than she was, who need specialist care. Since then I've always wanted to do something to raise money to help the unit keep up the excellent standard of care in treating those babies and hopefully the money we raise can help make a difference in a little child's life."
Some of the calendar stars are recent bronze medallist at the Leinster Cyclo-Cross championships and former Irish junior road race champion Robert Moore of the Stamullen M. Donnelly Road Club. Also featured is former Irish national downhill mountain bike champion John Lawlor from Drogheda. Tour of Ulster stage winner Aidan Crowley is the star of May, while 2004 Irish international and current national high performance manager Philip Finegan of cycleways.com has also revealed all in September.
Veteran Hugh Nestor of Team Murphy & Gunn joins his son and teammate Mark on the pages of the glossy calendar, while their teammate and cover star Adrian Hederman is also in the line-up alongside Dan Nulty (Stamullen M Donnelly).
Having already generated much publicity, the riders are set to appear on the world's longest running chat show, The Late Late Show on RTE on Friday night. "Hopefully the calendar will be a big hit at Christmas and we can raise as much money as possible," added Cromwell. "Some of the lads have young children of their own and the fact that it's for such a worthwhile cause should help us sell a lot of them coming up to Christmas."
With the cost of a single incubator currently standing at around €16,000, the aim of the Irish Cycling Nudes calendar is to raise as much money and awareness for the Baby Care Unit as possible. Irish Cycling Nudes charity calendar will be launched locally and will be available nationwide in time for Christmas. For those of you looking for a stocking filler for that long suffering partner, reserve your copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.