Grand Depart from hospice to Paris-Roubaix

Pictured: (from left to right): Pete Roberts, Mark Colley, David Riley, Alan Yeaman, Gary Powell, Jules Harris, James Oldroyd, Andy Wills and Danny Tyndall.
Pictured: (from left to right): Pete Roberts, Mark Colley, David Riley, Alan Yeaman, Gary Powell, Jules Harris, James Oldroyd, Andy Wills and Danny Tyndall.
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Next Friday a team of intrepid cyclists will make a Grand Depart from Wakefield Hospice on a 400km ride to the continent.

All 13 riders are keen cyclists, but none have taken on something like this before. Their route will take in Yorkshire, Belgium and northern France and include sections of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix races.

Each rider has their own reason for taking on this mammoth task.

Andy Wills said: “I want to raise awareness of the hospice and I am doing the ride in memory of my father-in-law who spent his last days in their care last year.”

Mr Wills hasn’t had the easiest of preparations for the ride but his personal connection has kept him motivated. He added: ”I’ve found it hard putting in the training miles, partly due to work and family commitments but also because I suffered a slipped disc earlier this summer making training in July almost impossible.”

But now he is raring to go, adding: “I want to get in as many laps of the Roubaix Velodrome as I can get away with before I get told to stop!”

The Paris-Roubaix race is known for its brutal cobbled sections. But rider James Oldroyd, of Ossett, said: “The bit I’m most looking forward to is taking on those cobbles.”

Jamie Strachan, events fundraiser for Wakefield Hospice said “we constantly strive to come up with new and exciting events for our supporters, and we think this one is rather special. These guys have put in thousands of kilometres of training collectively and are very excited about the challenge ahead. Together, they will raise over £15,000 for the hospice. This incredible amount of money could fund a month’s patient care at the hospice which makes a world of difference to our patients and their families.”