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Petrov pays tribute to masseurs as cycle challenge nears completion

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Petrov pays tribute to masseurs as cycle challenge nears completion

Stiliyan Petrov has paid a glowing tribute to the two Villa masseurs who this week embarked on a 400-mile cycle ride in his honour.

Alex Butler and Andy Smith are set to complete the Pedal For Petrov challenge on Sunday evening, after six days of cycling from Celtic Park to Villa Park for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The intrepid duo have been close friends with Petrov ever since his arrival from Celtic in 2006.

Alex and Andy were devastated to learn that the club captain had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia and decided to embark on the Pedal For Petrov ride.

Petrov, who learned last month that his acute leukaemia is now in remission, revealed he has stayed in close contact with the masseurs throughout the challenge.

The Bulgarian midfielder has been amazed by their efforts.

"They have put themselves through a lot to try and raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research," he said.

"They have worked so hard and they want to cheer me up and they want to show me how much they love me.

"It is great to see something like that and it is for a great cause as well.

"I know how hard it is and I have been speaking to them every day.

"Especially the other day they found it really tough with the wind against them.

"But they kept going and I hope that in the end they will achieve the £250,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research because I can see how important this money is for this research."

Alex and Andy have been joined on the cycle ride by former England international Geoff Thomas, who won his own battle with leukaemia.

The route has featured stop-offs at several Barclays Premier League clubs including Newcastle United, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Villa Park will also play host to a special Pedal For Petrov dinner in the Holte Suite on Sunday night to mark the completion of the challenge.

"I asked them to cycle to Bulgaria but they said it's a little too long to go there!" Petrov added.

"So they decided to go from Celtic Park to Villa Park.

"It is tough. Geoff has been doing a lot of bike rides and he is fit but these two boys have only had a few months to train and prepare for this.

"I hope when they arrive at Villa Park they will have a good crowd and they will feel satisfied with everything they have done."

Petrov is also thrilled that the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity will benefit from the efforts of Alex and Andy.

"I've seen something that a lot of people don't see and I know how important this research is that helps with all the drugs and everything to help people get better quicker," he said.

"They need to be tried and after that they need to use it and the quicker they do it the better for the patients.

"I hope in the end they will achieve this and it will give the cause good money to work on the research."

To support Alex and Andy in their Pedal For Petrov challenge, please donate via their JustGiving page at or text 'STAN91 £3' to 70070.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 8th September 2012
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