Guernsey Press

Charity cyclists off for their tour de France

MORE than 50 local cyclists left the island on Saturday to tackle a 1,700km challenge in France.

The Tour of the Roses riders heading off on Saturday to raise funds for the Smile for Georgie foundation. (Pictures by Sophie Rabey, 32487864/54)

Raising money for the Smile for Georgie Foundation, the 10-day challenge covers routes from St Malo to Avignon, into the Alps, and a total climb of just over 18,000m – roughly double the height of Mount Everest.

‘We’ve really raised the game with this tour, not only is the challenge itself greater than anything we’ve rolled out before, but every element of the logistics and organisation is just that bit more advanced relative to previous tours,’ said one of the tour founders and organisers, Leon Howard.

‘It is really going to be something special for the riders, support team, the friends and family, as well as everyone in Guernsey to follow and enjoy.’

The 55 cyclists will be joined by a support team of drivers, navigators and caterers.

There will be three pelotons riding at advanced, intermediate and leisurely level, with support vehicles assigned to each peloton.

Another tour founder and organiser, Gary Hooks, said that the tour had been taken more than four years in planning and 18 months of training.

‘Each of the riders has a personal goal and will no doubt overcome obstacles that will have them reflecting on their achievements for many years to come.'

Savills property manager, Merrick Bramley, 46, is one of the cyclists taking part.

He said he was a keen cyclist but this would be his hardest-ever challenge.

‘I’ve been training for around two years now and on average I have cycled around 250km (155 miles) a week,’ he said.

‘It’s a test of mind and body but I’ve also made some amazing friends along the way.’

While each stage would vary, he expected to be riding about 105 miles a day.

‘I’m obviously a little apprehensive of what might be in store, but I’m very much looking forward to it.’

The route has been designed to give riders a blend of the best scenery and some good places to visit and includes Col du Pre, Petit Bernard, Val-d’Isere and Mont Ventoux.

Mr Bramley said he was proud to be taking part on behalf of the Smile for Georgie Foundation.

‘It’s particularly meaningful as Georgie’s sister, Annie, started working in our office two months ago. Any help and support people are able to give is greatly appreciated.’