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14-year-old Sussex cyclist ‘Everests’ Ditchling Beacon

Tom Pughe-Morgan scaled South Downs climb 65 times to beat height of world’s biggest peak

A 14-year-old cyclist from Sussex has Everested the ascent of Ditchling Beacon on the South Downs – and is believed to be the youngest rider to have climbed the height of the world’s tallest mountain in a bike within a day.

Last Thursday at 5am, Tom Pughe-Morgan, aged 14, and his friend Lukas Nerurkar, 13, set off to ride up the South Downs hill more than 60 times.

Unfortunately, Lukas began vomiting after their first food stop following 20 ascents and due to fluid loss had to abandon.

Tom, however – like Lukas, a member of Preston Park Youth Cycling club – continued, and scaled the climb 65 times to take him past the height of Everest.

He was sponsored by Hassocks-based business, Proper Cycling and Coffee, which also supplied a support vehicle, and has raised more than £2,000 for the Nepal Youth Foundation UK.

Proper Cycling’s Ross McCracken said: “It was sad to see Lukas retire as he’d worked so hard.

“Tom was gutted to have to ride the rest without his training partner but there was no way he could go on. I’m amazed he got as far as he did after being that unwell. He’s a seriously tough lad!”

“Tom did amazingly, he was beginning to struggle towards the end and things got pretty intense. He just got his head down and pressed on.

“It was impressive to watch, I’ve never seen determination like it,” he added. 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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