Anxious moments before the start
Kent roads are rarely flat
Footballers Ian Wright and Geoff Thomas rode the event
Four thousand cyclists completed the epic 120mile route from Greenwich to Canterbury that made up the British Cyclosportive event. The mass participation ride, which was designed to attract more people into cycling as a part of British Cycling’s EverydayCycling.com initiative, followed much of the route that the professional riders will follow on Stage One of the Tour de France on Sunday 8 July.
Leaving Greenwich Park at 6am on Sunday, riders set off in small groups ready to take on the rolling Kent countryside. Amongst them were celebrity football stars Ian Wright and Geoff Thomas. Thomas took on the event as part of his training to complete the whole Tour de France later this month to raise money for the Geoff Thomas Foundation, which funds research into Lukaemia.
Thomas commented: “I had a fantastic day and the weather was good. It was a long day in the saddle but cycling is a fantastic sport; anyone can do it!”
“Sport teaches you a lot about life and through my illness I set targets in much the same way as I did when I was playing football. This event has helped raise the profile of the Foundation and I’m particularly grateful to Ian Wright for all his support.”
Whilst Thomas is a now a seasoned cyclist, Wright had time to prepare for the ride.
He commented: “My longest ride ever up to this was 57 miles. When I got to 60 miles today I was out of it. It was really against the odds for me to complete this but I’m not the sort of person to give up once I have started something and I was delighted to help the Geoff Thomas Foundation.”
“I have a new respect for cyclists now, it is a sport where hard work pays off!”
The faster riders completed the ride in less than five and a half hours, whilst the final riders were still arriving at 7pm. Sevenoaks man Derek Williams, 74, was the oldest rider to complete the event in eight and a quarter hours.