Scrum-half lost father to the disease and wants fellow Scots to jtake part in next month's ride...

Scotland and British Lions rugby star Chris Cusiter has called on his compatriots to sign up for the Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride between Peebles and Dumfries on Sunday 4 September. The scrum-half, who plays his club rugby for Glasgow Warriors, lost his father to prostate cancer last year.

The ride takes place exactly a week before the 2011 Tour of Britain gets under way in the Scottish Borders, and the Tour Ride gives cyclists of all abilities the chance to tackle the same 170km route that the stars, including world champion Thor Hushovd, will be riding. There is also a shorter route that takes in the final 70km of the Stage 1 parcours.

Speaking at the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow, where he took to two wheels for the cameras, Cusiter said: “I think it’s fantastic that the first leg of The Tour of Britain is taking place in Scotland. Thanks to The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride people of all cycling abilities have the unique opportunity to experience the route a week before the professionals.

“I would strongly encourage people all across the country to get right behind this excellent event. It will be a great day out in its own right, but those taking part will also know they are doing their bit to raise funds for the fight against prostate cancer - the most common cancer in men in Scotland.

“2,700 Scots are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, and 2 die of the disease every day. By participating in The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride on 4 September people can play their part in changing these statistics, and Scotland, for the better. I hope many, many Scots rise to the challenge - and do just that.”

It's unclear whether or not Cusiter will be around to take part in the ride himself - after struggling with injury, he is set to figure in Scotland's final Rugby World Cup warm-up match this weekend against Italy, which will determine whether he will head to New Zealand for next month's tournament. 

Ann Ferguson, Head of Operations at The Prostate Cancer Charity Scotland, added: “The Tour Ride on 4 September is a great event, and we are delighted that Chris Cusiter has offered his backing to it. Not only is Chris a fantastic ambassador for rugby and for Scotland, he is a fantastic ambassador for The Prostate Cancer Charity as it strives for a world where lives are no longer limited by the disease.

“I hope people heed his call and get behind The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride on 4 September in ever increasing numbers.”

More information on the ride, as well as others in East Anglia, Wales, Stoke-on-Trent and London, can be found on The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride website.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.