Cycling stars and celebrities for London-Paris 2009

Stephen Roche, James Cracknell, Geoff Thomas and more

Ex-Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner Stephen Roche, double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell and former England footballer Geoff Thomas will ride in this year’s London-Paris Cycle Tour.

The event, which is the closest an amateur rider can get to the Tour de France experience starts on Thursday 25 June with rolling road closures and full logistical support, covering 520km in three days.

Also among the 300 riders for 2009 are double Olympic bronze rowing medallist, Elise Laverick, British Cycling’s Team Sky manager and former pro-cyclist, Scott Sunderland, who helped mastermind Carlos Sastre’s victory in the 2008 Tour de France, and former British road champion, Brian Smith.

Celebrities taking part include Hell’s Kitchen contestant Grant Bovey and ITN newsreader and reporter Chris Rogers.

The event’s lead charity partner for 2009 is the Geoff Thomas Foundation, which campaigns for improved treatment for leukaemia patients. Stephen Roche’s eight year old son, Florian, is recovering from the illness.

Roche said: “You read about other people’s stories and picture the trauma but when you live it from the inside it’s totally different and it gives you a different take on life.  You ask ‘why him? Why not me?'"

Sven Thiele from HotChillee, the company which stages London-Paris said: “The 2009 London-Paris Cycle Tour is poised to be the most exciting yet. We have an excellent field of riders headed by the inspirational Stephen Roche. The ride will be a test of endurance and challenge the toughest of cyclists.”

For more information on the London-Paris ride, go to the London Paris Cycle Tour website.

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