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Fri 21st Feb 2020
Triathletes complete Le Tour - One Day Ahead
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 30th July 2015

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Celebration time as triathletes reach Paris with Le Tour - One Day Ahead team

(Images courtesy of and

Helen Russell and Melissa Brand are celebrating after completing the Le Tour-One Day Ahead Challenge after their triumphal arrival in Paris. The former World Age Group Duathlon Champion, Russell and Ikon-Mazda women's team rider Brand brought their brutal 2,100 mile ride to an end when they crossed the finish line under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower on Saturday afternoon, via the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees.

Le Tour-One Day Ahead saw an eleven strong team cycle the route of the Tour de France one day ahead of the professional race to raise funds for the Birmingham charity Cure Leukaemia. The team, led by ex-England footballer Geoff Thomas, set off from Utrecht, Holland, on July 3 and since then each cyclist has burned around 95,000 calories and climbed 40,000 metres in pedalling almost 2,100 miles.

Le Tour - One Day Ahead

The cyclists had to contend with 40-plus degree heat, wall-like ascents and frightening mountain-top thunderstorms, riding an average of 110 miles a day. Helen and Mel were pushed to their limits suffering from dehydration, saddle sores, sickness and blisters. An eventful first week saw Helen brought down off her bike in Holland and after having ten stitches on the roadside she bravely insisted that she be let back on her bike to complete the day's stage.

The team were joined for two days by former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong who gave a boost to the moral of the fatigued riders and also raised the profile of the challenge worldwide.

“It's been really tough, and even the professionals a day behind us were saying it's one of the toughest 21 days they've been through,” said 50-year-old Geoff, who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and given just three months to live in 2003. Russell added, “I've been through so many different emotions over the last 21 days. It is without doubt the hardest thing that I have ever done but I kept pedalling knowing that each mile would raise more money for clinical trials and research nurses at the QE Hospital in Birmingham. I am now looking forward to having a break from the bike and just doing some open water swimming, whilst it is still warm enough.”

Le Tour - One Day Ahead

The team's superhuman efforts have pushed the fundraising total for Cure Leukaemia past the £650,000 mark and they will be welcomed back home at a ‘Welcome Home' party at the Victoria Club at Bromsgrove Sporting Football Club. The party on 14 August will be hosted by ITV4 Tour de France commentator, Ned Boutling who will do a Q&A with Thomas and compere a charity auction where guests will have the chance to bid for items from a host of sports stars, including the current Commonwealth Triathlon Champion, Jodie Stimpson. Guests will also be able mingle with current and former sportspeople and enjoy a buffet, music and raffle. Tickets cost only £10 in advance and all proceeds go towards Cure Leukaemia. To reserve tickets email: or call 07516 375302.

It is still possible to donate to Helen or Melissa:


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