Tough start for Sport Relief celebrity cyclists

Comedian Hart takes tumble; Cotton battles blizzard

A 1,000-mile charity cycle ride by British celebrities got off to a rocky start today when comedian Miranda Hart fell off and cut her leg before the challenge had even begun.

Hart, who had her own BBC series last year and starred in sci-fi comedy Hyperdrive, took a tumble as the six-strong team prepared to set off from John O' Groats on the BT Sport Relief Million Pound Bike Ride.

After recovering her composure and setting off on the first leg with her team-mates – fellow comedians David Walliams, Russell Howard and Patrick Kielty, and TV presenters Fearne Cotton and Davina McCall – she said the ride had been much harder than expected.

"It was tough – the terrain, the weather, everything," she said. "It's a bit of a reality check. Land's End seems an awfully long way away. I thought I'd try and get a fall in early and was entirely successful – it was textbook!"

Cotton, who took the first solo stint, took nearly two-and-a-half hours to ride the 26-mile stretch. "The first hour was okay but then it was all uphill battling through the snow and was pretty horrendous to be honest," she said. "My clothes were soaked through so I was freezing and was incredibly glad to see the bus and hand over to Patrick."

The riders are aiming to make it to Land's End on Thursday and raise £1 million in the process. The money will be spent by Comic Relief to help vulnerable people in the UK and in some of the world’s poorest countries. To sponsor the team, go to www.sportrelief.com.

Miranda Hart, pictured here with team-mate Patrick Kielty, fell from her bike and cut her leg

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