The Scottish National Party’s Mr Pete Wishart, Member of Parliament for Perth & North Perthshire, will join together with Robbie McIntosh, Marie Curie’s Scottish Events Manager, to officially open the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia which starts in Pitlochry at 6.30am this Sunday morning. The IMG Challenger World event, which is the sixth to be held in Scotland, has experienced its most popular year to date with more than 5000 participants signed up to take part in the UK’s biggest closed road cycling event. Mr Wishart said: “I am delighted to be opening this year’s Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia. I have watched this event grow and blossom over the past six years and it is undoubtedly a flagship event, not just for British cycling but for Highland Perthshire as a destination. With thousands of participants raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, a very worthwhile cause, this event creates a long lasting legacy that will be appreciated by many for years to come.” The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia 2012 sold out in record time with over five thousand participants registering to take part, drawn to the event by the stunning scenery, the winding route through the picturesque landscapes, and the unique opportunity to enjoy this environment safely on closed roads. The event has regularly attracted high profile celebrities and sports personalities over the years, and participants this year will have the chance to ride alongside Ross Ford, a professional rugby union player and captain of the 2012 Six Nations Championship. Ross will be riding to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care on the day. Robbie McIntosh, Marie Curie Cancer Care’s Scottish Events Manager, said: “We are very excited to be part of this amazing event and hope all the cyclists taking part have a great time. All the money raised will help us to provide more free, end of life care to people with terminal cancer and other illnesses in their own homes or at one of the charity’s nine hospices. Ali Foster, of organisers IMG Challenger World, said: “I am delighted that Pete Wishart and Robbie McIntosh from Marie Cure Cancer Care have agreed to open this year’s event for us. We have 5,000 cyclists taking advantage of the safety of closed roads and fresh Highland air, enjoying Scotland at its very best.” “Already we’ve had reports of a strong increase in the number of cyclists enjoying the area throughout the year and we fully expect this year’s event to draw large crowds of spectators. With such substantial numbers participating we expect it to be a very busy weekend for the area, and a great boost to the economy of Highland Perthshire”.