Cooper Parry Corporate Finance partner Andy Parker is preparing to take on one of the toughest cycling challenges in the world in aid of charity.
Andy will be joining a team of five amateur cyclists, led by former Wolves and England footballer Geoff Thomas, on the Tour de France leg of the ‘Geoff Thomas Three Tours Challenge’ to help raise money for Cure Leukaemia and the expansion of the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
The monumental challenge will see the riders take on all three Grand Tours, including the Giro D’Italia, Le Tour de France, and La Vuelta a Espana consecutively, one day ahead of the professional cyclists.
The team set off on the first leg of the Giro D’Italia on 4th May and over the next 63 days will cover a total of 10,504km.
Andy will meet up with the team for the Tour de France leg of the challenge on Friday 30th June. Starting in Dusseldorf, Germany, Andy and the other riders will cycle 3,521km in 22 days.
This year, the route of the Tour de France will feature all five of France’s major mountain ranges – Vosges, Jura, Pyrenees, Central Massif and the Alps.
Andy is aiming to raise £30,000, which will help towards Cure Leukaemia’s appeal to raise an additional £1m to fully fund the £3.2m expansion of the Centre for Clinical Haematology. The project has already received more than £2m from the local growth fund (LGF) and Cure Leukaemia must raise the additional funds by 31st December 2017. Work is due to start on the centre this month and will re-open to treat patients in November.
To prepare for the challenge, Andy has been training five times a week, cycling up to 180 miles over the weekend. He’s also enlisted the help of a former pro cyclist and put himself on a strict diet in a bid to lose a few extra pounds. Even with the ride over a month away Andy has already raised over £10,000 and has a number of fundraising events before he sets off.
He said: “As a 15st plus former rugby player, I’m not exactly built for cycling. In a sport where weight plays a big part, particularly when cycling up steep mountains, I knew I would have to drop a few pounds. The dieting and training has been hard but nowhere near as hard as what I imagine cycling 3,500km over 22 days will be like.
“It’s going to be tough but it’s for a fantastic charity and a great cause.”
The Geoff Thomas Three Tours Challenge was officially launched in London on the 22nd February, hosted by broadcaster, writer and Cure Leukaemia patron Adrian Chiles.
Geoff Thomas, who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2003 and has been a staunch fundraiser and patron of Cure Leukaemia ever since, said: “I would not be here now without Cure Leukaemia, it is as simple as that. Beating blood cancer was my biggest ever challenge but in terms of sporting challenges this will be beyond anything I have ever taken on.”
The Geoff Thomas Three Tours Challenge is being backed by a number of sponsors, including headline sponsor Farr Vintners, the London-based fine wine retailer, which has donated £100,000 towards the cause.
Three Corporate packages are available for groups of four cyclists to join Andy and the team for famous mountain stages of the Tour de France. For more information regarding how you and three others can ride the famous Tour de France go to: www.threetourschallenge.com
Donations to the Three Tours Challenge can be made at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/3tours
or to Andy Parker at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AndyParkerBeforeTheTour2017
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