2012 Olympics ambassador James Cracknell took to the saddle on Thursday, 26 June to lead over 300 riders over four days as part of a gruelling London-Paris Cycle Tour.
Cracknell and ex England footballer Geoff Thomas lined up in different star-studded teams, backed by Sports nutrition company Science in Sport (SiS).
Thomas is riding alongside ex-pro, Olympic medallist Max Sciandri, ex-double British road race champion Brian Smith, cycling commentator Anthony McCrossan and SiS' director Tim Lawson and Pete Slater. Cracknell is riding in a team with Stephen Roche, winner of the Giro, Tour de France and World Championships in the same year.
Following his recent Channel swim, Cracknell is making the final 'conversion' to cycling. "The whole event looks fantastic, I'm really looking forward to it," he said. "Riding with great champions like Stephen, especially on the 21st anniversary of his Tour de France victory, is a privilege but I know I'll have to train hard and practice my bunch riding!"
Cracknell didn't have to spend too much time in the bunch, however, as after the first day (200km) he was listed as having the fastest time, 5:33:46, nearly nine minutes quicker than the first peloton.
The 600km London-Paris Cycle Tour left Hampton Court Palace on Thursday morning. The rest of the route sees the cyclists travel through Kent, Dover, the north of France to Amiens and finally down toward Paris, finishing at the iconic Eiffel Tower on 28 June. In three days, the riders will cover 600km, split into 200km, 230km and 170km stages.
Deemed as the ‘professional event for amateurs', the endurance event will bring together world class cyclists and sportspeople in aid of charities; Schools for Children of Cambodia (SCC), Morning Star for aids orphans in Africa, and Christel House.