A former England international rugby star is setting off on an exhausting 100miles-per-day charity cycling challenge that will take in sections of Tour de France next week.
Paul Sampson, who started his playing career with Otley RUFC in the mid-1990s before representing England, is tackling the Ride4Care 1,700-mile TourToTheRock from Bradford to Gibraltar over just 17 days.
Snaking through parts of the Yorkshire Grand Depart routes before travelling through London, France and the Pyrenees, the retired rugby star is raising funds for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The Keighley-born personal trainer will take on the feat with road and track cycling Paralympian Darren Kenny OBE and will set off from Marie Curie Hospice, in Bradford, on Thursday.
Sampson, 36, said: “I took on this challenge to acknowledge two charities which have had a huge impact on my life.
“In memory of my Dad and from the bottom of my heart I wanted to say thanks to Marie Curie and the wonderful nurses for their very special care.
“Also in memory of our fallen heroes and for all the families of our Royal Marines who may have been affected while at the forefront of our defence for the last 350 years.”
A star-studded peloton of 250 riders including his wife Sky Sports News presenter Kirsty Gallacher, Gabby Logan and rugby stars such as Danny Grewcock and Robin Boot will join the sportsman on a section of his day three ride from south west London to Portsmouth.
Sampson, who set up Ride4Care, played over 100 times for London Wasps and Bath before spells at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and London Broncos during a glittering cross-code career which ended three years ago.
Visit www.ride4care.com for information on Sampson’s challenge or to donate.