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Gran Fondo Northern Ireland: How Norman got on his bike and lost 12 stone for cycle challenge

By Joanne Sweeney

He's less than half the man he used to be, but now Norman Kane is ready for the Giro D'Italia Gran Fondo cycle challenge.

The Ballymoney engineer lost an impressive 12 stone in a year and it was all down to willpower and getting on his bike.

He will be one of the keen amateur cyclists taking part next Sunday in the 109-mile closed road event.

The 41-year-old is now a slender 10st and in superb form to tackle the race, which promises all 3,000 competitors a delicious pasta party after the gruelling event.

"I hadn't realised I was 22 stone until I was weighed at the doctors last May and I just came home and said to my wife Jennifer that I was going to do something about it," the dad-of-two told the Belfast Telegraph. "I first went on the pharmacy liquid diet plan Lipotrim for 11 weeks but I knew I had to exercise as well.

"So as I don't like swimming or running, it was time to get my mountain bike out again.

"The first time I went out and did five miles I thought I was going to have a heart attack, but I do about 150 miles each week now.

"I lost 10-and-a-half stone by eight months on a strict diet and on the bike. People tell me it's amazing, but I don't really see it as that.

"It was just something that had to be done."

A member of Causeway Cycle Club, Norman says he was attracted to entering the Gran Fondo because of the event's closed roads and the hill climbs in the route that goes through parts of the Mournes, including Spelga Dam.

His wish is to meet his hero on the event, Sky Team rider Richie Porte, who is also a keen hill climber.

Factfile

Registrations for the Gran Fondo Giro D'Italia event taking place Sunday, June 21 are now closed.

The VIP race takes place on Saturday, June 20.

There's two routes planned on Sunday - the 177km Mourne route and the 58km Strangford route.

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