Ex-England rugby captain Martin Johnson will take on ex-England football international Geoff Thomas in the Geoff Thomas Pursuit Challenge at the next Revolution track event in Manchester on Saturday, February 23rd.
The event will see the 2003 rugby world cup winner swapping the rugby jersey for lycra as he takes to the track in an Italian pursuit race. The race is slightly different to a normal team pursuit. Johnson will lead a team of six riders who will set off at the opposite side of the track to Thomas's team of six. The two leaders will set the pace racing the first lap when they will peel off after 250m. Each subsequent rider will lead the team for one lap until there is only one rider left on each squad who will sprint it out for the win.
The two teams will be evenly balanced with Olympic kilo champion Chris Hoy and kilo world record holder Arnaud Tournant set to be the final man on each squad.
The race is being run to help raise awareness and funds for the Geoff Thomas Foundation. The foundation was set up by Thomas to help provide the resources to develop new medical treatments in the fight against leukaemia. Thomas was diagnosed with the disease in 2003, but recovered and took up cycling the following year. He successfully completed the routes of two Tours de France to raise money for his charity.
Both Thomas and Johnson are planning their preparation with training sessions at the Newport Velodrome. "Having never ridden a bike on the track before I'm quite keen to have a go before the main event," said Johnson. "The lack of brakes is the main concern and I don't want to make a fool out of myself so we will have a few sessions at the velodrome in Newport."