Geoff Thomas fears charity Tour de France challenge could face cancellation again

Former England midfielder Geoff Thomas fears seeing his £1million charity challenge at the Tour de France cancelled for a second consecutive year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Blood cancer survivor Thomas, 56, is planning to lead a team of 25 amateur cyclists who will ride the complete 3,384-kilometre Tour de France route one week before the professionals – with the former Crystal Palace captain taking on the challenge for a fifth and potentially final time.

The group have already raised £700,000 for Cure Leukaemia, aiming to help the charity make up for a £1.7million fundraising shortfall in 2020, but the French Government’s announcement of a seven-day quarantine for all visitors to France from the UK has put their plans in peril.

Now Thomas and the man who saved his life, Professor Charlie Craddock CBE, have urged both the French and UK governments to make special dispensation for the group to travel before their planned start date on June 19.

“With last year’s event also being postponed we have been training now for nearly two years and throughout the endless hours of training we have undertaken, we have always had patients at the forefront of our minds knowing that this is much more than just a cycling challenge,” Thomas said.

“By raising at least £1,000,000 from The Tour 21 we will ensure more blood cancer patients survive this horrible disease and give hope to blood cancer patients across the world.”

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has also lent his support to the group.

“I just want to say, help Cure Leukaemia, thank you Cure Leukaemia, thank you for this great challenge, thank you for helping others. You are most welcome as part of the Tour de France family,” he said.

PA

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