Former Crystal Palace player Geoff Thomas has announced a charity cycle on the 2015 Tour de France course.
Ex-England footballer Geoff Thomas, who famously rode the entire 2005 Tour de France route just months after finishing treatment for cancer, is planning to ride the 2015 course to mark the ten year anniversary of his cycle.
He will join a team of 20 other amateur riders just one day ahead of the main event on July 3, in a bid to raise £1 million for Cure Leukaemia.
The end of next year’s Stage 14 between Rodez and Mende will finish with a notorious final climb to the top of the Cote de la Croix Neuve at the end of the day – the same piece of road Thomas rode a decade previously.
Despite only being 3km long, the gradient averages at over 10%, reaching 14% in places, and proved a memorable part of his challenge.
He wrote at the time: “Progress was slow and we had been on the road for more than ten hours again, but I rarely worried about the clock. I was only ever interested in making it to the top and I took a lot of satisfaction from reaching the summit of such a difficult climb.”
The penultimate stage of next year’s race, on which many have predicted the final yellow jersey may be decided, is also familiar to Thomas but some will be new, in particular the return to the cobbles that proved so hazardous on the 2014 version of the Tour.
“The cobbles will be interesting, I’ll try and find some in the UK and get practicing,” he said.
“The whole route appears challenging but with some excellent and iconic stages. I can’t wait to get going.”
Thomas will also be leading a four-day, 500 kilometre cycling challenge – London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution – ahead of the event from June 18-22.
He was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and was given less than three months to live, in 2003.
Following treatment, including a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Thomas has been in remission since January 2005.