Ex-England rugby captain Martin Johnson is confirmed as the sports celebrity to take on Geoff Thomas in the Geoff Thomas Pursuit Challenge at the next Revolution cycling event on Saturday 23rd February.

The event will see the 2003 World Cup winner swapping his rugby jersey for Lycra as he takes to the track in a feature Italian Pursuit race.

The Italian Pursuit is a slightly different format to the normal Team Pursuit seen in the Olympics. Johnson will lead a team of six riders who will set off at the opposite side of the track to Thomas’s team of six. Martin and Geoff will set the pace initially, racing the first lap after which they will peel off, having completed an intense 250m effort. Each subsequent rider will lead the team for one lap until there is only one rider left on each squad who will sprint it out for the line and glory on the final lap.

The two teams will be evenly balanced, with Olympic Kilo Champion Chris Hoy and Kilo World Record holder Arnaud Tournant set to be the final man on each squad.

The race has been developed in conjunction with the Revolution event to help raise awareness and funds for the Geoff Thomas Foundation. The foundation was set up by ex England footballer Geoff Thomas to help provide the resources to develop new medical treatments in the fight against leukaemia.

Central to Geoff’s fundraising efforts have been two attempts to ride the full Tour de France route. The association with the Revolution event will now help increase awareness of the foundation to the Revolution audience and Martin Johnson’s involvement will help spread exposure beyond the cycling community.

Said Geoff; ‘’ I am delighted to be involved in the Revolution series and am sure the partnership we have will help generate the awareness of the Foundation and help support the five top Leukaemia centres around the country, one of which is in Manchester. My interest in cycling as a sport has obviously increased over the past few years and Revolution is a great way to get everyone involved. I am really grateful to Martin for giving up his time to support us, and I’m sure we’ll have a great night whatever the result of the race!’’

Both Geoff and Martin are now planning their preparation with training sessions scheduled at the Newport Velodrome.

“Having never ridden a bike on the track before I’m quite keen to have a go before the main event” commented Johnson. “The lack of brakes is the main concern and I don’t want to make a fool out of myself so we will have a few sessions at the Velodrome in Newport.”

Tickets

The Revolution event will take place at the Manchester Velodrome on 23rd February. Tickets can be bought at www.cyclingrevolution.com or by calling 0845 686 0105.

Foundation

For more information on the Geoff Thomas Foundation please go to www.geoffthomasfoundation.com.