"Wait a minute, is that G?!" goes the Zwift advert that ricocheted around cycling fans' ears while watching the WorldTour on TV last year. But now it might really be Geraint Thomas on your Zwift ride, as the Tour de France winner will complete three 12-hour rides on the platform to raise money for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week Geraint Thomas will undertake the challenge from his garage, with people able to either ride alongside the Welshman or watch him suffering live on his Facebook page.
"Obviously it's very challenging times at the moment but as we all know the NHS is doing an unbelievable job," said Thomas. "I'm not sure if you've seen but Ineos and the team are working super hard to get hand sanitiser delivered to hospitals all over the UK and I wanted to help out in any small way I could. All I know is bike riding so I thought I could do a charity wide and mirror the NHS workers' shifts."
The Go Fund Me page has already raised nearly £9,000 at the time of writing, with the fundraising goal set to £100,000.
Thomas will have a warm-up session on Sunday April 12 as he takes part in Team Ineos' first-ever Zwift event alongside team-mate Chris Froome as well as the rest of the squad.
The group ride is open to Zwift members of all abilities and will take between 40 minutes to one hour. The Ineos riders will then go head-to-head in a Zwift race.
The team's titular sponsor, a chemical company, has adapted its manufacturing processes to develop up to a million bottles of hand sanitiser, with their cycling team helping to deliver them to NHS hospitals across the UK.
The first deliveries have been made just 10 days after Ineos announced they would begin producing hand sanitiser, which there is a shortage of in the UK and Europe, to aid efforts by the National Health Service to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Ineos make the individual components that go into hand sanitiser but have begun producing the final product in their Teeside factory, with their plants in Germany and France to soon follow suit.
Team Ineos and Dave Brailsford have been helping with the logistical side of the operation as delivery to 28 hospitals begins and wider distribution will follow when the factories ramp up production.
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