July, Birmingham – The Tour 21, the gruelling, annual endurance challenge which sees a group of amateur riders tackle the entire route of the Tour de France just one week ahead of the professionals, came to an emotional conclusion on Sunday as the riders who started three weeks ago in Copenhagen, rolled into Paris to complete stage 21.
The team concluded the challenge by rolling down the iconic Champs Elysées, to the finish line by the Eiffel Tower to complete the 3,349.8km route to a rapturous reception from over 100 friends and family as well as a champagne toast to celebrate their achievement. The team have faced energy-sapping mountain climbs, extreme 40 degree heat, driving rain, broken bones, crashes, punctures and illness along the way highlighting just how challenging a task riding this distance and parcours really is.
Amongst the finishers are four riders from London – Jonathan Raggett, MD of Red Carnation Hotels; Mark Palmer, CCO of Hamilton Court FX; Nicole Perry, Strategy Director at 11:FS; and Alex McKenna, Head of Liquid and Hybrid Solutions at DWS.
As of the 21st July, the 2022 edition of The Tour 21 has raised over £890,000 for Cure Leukaemia thanks to the collective efforts of the riders and wider event organisation. These funds are directly invested in the Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP), funded by the Cure Leukaemia charity, which helps those fighting the cancer and has driven huge medical advances over the past few years.
The second edition of The Tour 21 covered a route that rode in four countries, starting in Denmark before passing through Belgium, Switzerland and France for its majority. The riders tackled mountains in the Alps, Pyrenees and Vosges, with four climbs reaching over 2,000m in altitude by the top including the infamous Alpe d’Huez and Col du Galibier ascents. Riders covered the punishing cobblestone roads of northern France in week one before enduring biblical rain in the Vosges and then searing temperatures of up to 40 degrees in the second half.
In total, the riders covered nearly three and a half times the length of Lands End to John O’Groats, which spans the length of the UK. The route climbed over 47,800m of altitude gain on the bike – that’s over 154 times the height of the Shard in London or over 10,800 double-decker buses stacked on top of each other.
Cure Leukaemia’s Chief Executive James McLaughlin was full of admiration for the team and highlighted how vital the funds would be to finding a cure for blood cancer.
“What the last three weeks have shown is the unique sense of team spirit, camaraderie, dedication and the bravery needed to take on all 21 stages of the Tour de France is something pretty unique. Every single one of the team and crew should be immensely proud. This is without a doubt, one of the toughest sporting challenges in the world and for them to experience this, is something that they will never forget. On behalf of Cure Leukaemia, I am so proud of every single one of them. What they have done is put their bodies on the line for others and for that, we are eternally grateful.”
“By supporting the Trials Acceleration Programme, you are opening up new therapies and new trials through the network that we fund that ultimately will give blood cancer patients across the UK and also across the world, access to pioneering new treatments that aren’t readily available and without this network, these new kinds of therapies don’t become available. It is easily fair to say that this team and the backup crew are effectively lifesavers, because what they are doing, they are ultimately helping to save peoples lives and changing the way that blood cancer is treated now and in the future.”
You can donate to The Tour 21’s fundraising efforts on the event’s Just Giving page here. If you’ve been inspired by The Tour 21 and would like to enquire about riding the 2023 event, visit www.thetour21.co.uk.
Image credit Joolze Dymond