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Eight weeks after stroke and learning to walk, Belfast man cycles to fifth at Gran Fondo

By Jonny Bell

Published 08/06/2016

Jeremy Gardiner celebrates crossing the line in the Gran Fondo.
Jeremy Gardiner celebrates crossing the line in the Gran Fondo.
Jeremy and wife Catherine.
Jeremy in hospital after suffering a stroke.
Jeremy after suffering a stroke.
The leaders, including Jeremy Gardiner, cross the finish line for the Gran Fondo.

A Belfast man is on cloud nine after coming fifth in Sunday's Gran Fondo cycle race - just eight weeks after suffering a stroke which badly affected his balance.

Jeremy Gardiner completed Sunday's Gran Fondo Strangford race in fifth position, just two seconds off the winner.

And what makes the accomplishment all the more impressive, is that the 42-year-old suffered a stroke in April and had to re-learn how to walk and cycle before pedalling off on Sunday.

"I'm just elated," he told the Belfast Telegraph, "I am just on cloud nine."

Back in April Jeremy suffered two strokes, one at his visual cortex and another at the cerebellum.

He says the first one had no real impact, but the second completely knocked him off balance.

"It was the most scary experience of my life," he said.

"I wasn't feeling too well and was deciding to go off on a run and stood up and just lost my balance."

Jeremy suffered a similar incident as Ulster Rugby player Chris Henry. Both physically fit men were struck down as result of a blood clot.

He was in hospital for three days and needed physiotherapy to help with his coordination for things like drinking a cup of tea and he had to learn how to walk again.

The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Mark Kane as he wins The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Stephen Roche The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Joanna Miskelly, female winner of the Strangford route.
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Sammy Douglas watching on as he is unable to partake due to a cycling accident earlier in the week during The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Winners of the Strangford team race Titanic Quarter Cycling Club with Giani Bugno and Stephen Roche Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Ladies (L-R) Third Orla Montague, first Kathryn Smyth and Second Laura Wylie Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Men (L-R) ThirdSean McIntyre, first Mark Kane and Second David Hamilton with Mark's nephew Ryan Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Strangford team race Titanic Quarter Cycling Club Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Team race Dave Kane Cycles Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
Winners of the Mourne Route Men (L-R) ThirdSean McIntyre, first Mark Kane and Second David Hamilton with Mark's nephew Ryan Press Eye - Giro d'Italia Gran Fondo - Titanic Slipway - 5th June 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan / Presseye
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The largest cycling club Titanic CC The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Ireland on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it takes off from the Titanic Building and passes through the streets and roads of Northern Irealnd on June 05 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Members of the Titanic Cycling Club prepared for the Gran Fondo 2015. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Telegraph man Colin O'Carroll at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gran Fondo winners celebrate. Pic: Kevin Scott / Presseye
Lakeside Wheelers from Mullingar. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Brian Flynn from Waterford. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Sarah, Adele and Matthew Davidson from Newtownabbey. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Duncan Campbell of the Titanic Cycling Club. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Patrick Murphy from Waterford. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo winners on the podium. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Misia Rookigues and Gerard Magill. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Mark Kane winner of the Grand Fondo. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Stuart Millar from Newtownards and Lydia Murphy from Saintfield. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Hand and hand in the rain across the line. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Joe McAuley from Newtownabbey. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Rev John Dickinson from Carnmoney Presbyterian Church. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Jessica (8), Tom and Finley (3) Faulks from Lisburn. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Ryan Kane (6). Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Patrick O'Reilly and Johnny McBrien from Lisnaskea. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Three generations of the Kane Cycles family celebrate Marke Kanes win at the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon. Winner Mark Kane on right with his father Dave nephew Ryan and brother Paul ,(left) who finished second behind his brother.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Winner Mark Kane explains how he was injured with cuts on his arms and legs after coming off in a collision with a police motorbike escort near the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Winner Mark Kane with cuts on his arms and legs after coming off in a collission with a police escort motor cycle near the end of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 21-6-2015 Mark Kane wins the Mournes Run of the Giro dItalia Gran Fondo at the Titanic slipway finishing line this afternoon.
Joelene Browning from Lisburn. Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan Stephen Roche at the start line. The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 21/06/2015 Gran Fondo Giro The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland makes it's way back to the Titanic Quarter. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland - Titanic Belfast - 21 June 2015 Presseye Delan Roughan The Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland gets underway from the titanic slipway in Belfast. Some 3,000 riders headed off on either the Strangford route or the Mourne route.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Paul Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the race leader of the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia as it Passes through the Dromara Road close to Ballyroney in Banbridge Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st June 2015 - Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland Pictured is Winner Mark Kane during the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
Gran Fondo Giro DItalia Northern Ireland Sunday 21st June 2015 Titanic Quarter Belfast Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
First three finishers in the Strangford Route Keith Murphy (2nd), Chris McKeown (Winner) and Paul Mikugis (3rd). Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Winner Mark Kane as he crosses the line at Titianic Quarter in Belfast during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Kevin Scott/Presseye.
Chris McKeown winner of the Strangford Route of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Keith Murphy, who suffers from leukaemia, finished second in the Strangford Route of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Joelene Browning from Lisburn at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Jessica (8), Tom and Finley (3) Faulks from Lisburn at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gordon McKay at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Joe McAuley from Newtownabbey at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Alex McGreevy at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Cathir Doyle (13) from Magherafelt, winner of the NI Tourist Board race in the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Belfast Telegraph's Riona O'Kane and Lee Taylor at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Trudy Brown from Belfast saddles up for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Teresa Ramdi from Italy and Isabella Romoli from Dublin with the Giro DItalia trophy at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Charlie Stewart (5) from Ballynure at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
East Belfast MLA Sammy Douglas at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Taveling in tamdem at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
At the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Read for the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Thumbs up for the Mourne Route start at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Patrick O'Reilly and Johnny McBrien from Lisnaskea take a breather after the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mary McCreesh and Grainne King from Co Fermannagh with their medals from the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Ryan Kane (6) at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
John McKeag (93) who worked as a welder at Harland and Wolff at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Hand and hand in the rain across the line at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
John McKeag (93) and his brother Milton McKeag (88) at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mark Kane winner of the Grand Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Riders taking a corner during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Omagh Wheelers at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Keeping in touch during the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gale Sergeant and Boris from Newtownabbey enjoying the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Starting off at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Off the line at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Gearing up for the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Richie Port and Stephen Roche at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Stephen Roche moves to the start beside Richie Port at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Whiterock Wheelers checking the brakes ahead of the off at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Miaread McGurk and Samanatha Convery of Carn Cycle Club at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
David Maguire all the way from Sydney Australia at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Denise Todd from Banbridge at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Mambers of the Dave Kane Cycle Club ahead of the start of the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Checking the figures at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
Orla Wright, Elaine O'Boyle and Rosemary O'Kane fro the Glenns Cycling Club at the Gran Fondo. Pic: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
The Gran Fondo gets underway at the Titanic slipway in Belfast. Presseye/Delan Roughan.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Buildup to the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia gets underway at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia heads out of the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia begins at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia heads out of the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.
Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast. Pic: Kevin Scott /Presseye.

Given how his balance was affected, he also had to learn how to cycle a bike.

Jeremy continued: "I loved to cycle, nothing serious just recreational and I asked about getting back onto the road and the doctors said no.

"So I started on a static bike and then around the garden before heading out on the road with friends."

Incredibly, just four weeks after his stroke, Jeremy was able to complete an 18 mile cycle.

"It was awful," he said.

"I felt heavy, my legs were heavy, I couldn't get up a hill and I just thought this isn't going to happen.

"So I just thought 'ok, now I have to train for this and build up my strength'."

Business executive coach Jeremy found himself having to put into practice the lessons he delivers to industry leaders on a daily basis on how to overcome adversity and on being resilient before he rolled up to the start of Sunday's Gran Fondo.

"I was on the front row at the start and there was a guy there Chris who had won it last year and I just thought I'd see how long I could stick to him and I surprised myself."

Agonisingly for Jeremy he was within touching distance of winning the race until the final corner.

"It was a fantastic day, a really well organised event.

"For me it wasn't about coming fifth," he said, "It was just that I was able to do it in the first place."

Jeremy is still feeling the affects of his stroke. He still suffers brain damage and requires rehabilitation.

He added: "I'm not there yet... People think I've come a long way, but given the concentration levels needed for work, I'm only on half days at the minute.

"I just decided that I didn't want this to define me. For me its as much mental as it is physical. I want to live life and embrace it, and this is not going to stop me."

Wife Catherine said it was emotional to see her husband in the first group given the couple's past eight weeks.

"It was a shock - regardless of his stroke - I never expected to see him in the final group."

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