Mike Tomlinson finishes 3,000-mile Ride to Rio in emotional tribute to late Leeds fundraiser Jane

The Ride to Rio team including Mike Tomlinson (right) at the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.
The Ride to Rio team including Mike Tomlinson (right) at the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.
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The husband of inspirational Leeds fundraiser Jane Tomlinson has completed an epic 3,000-mile bike ride from London to Rio de Janeiro in tribute to his late wife.

Mike Tomlinson arrived at the Christ the Redeemer statue today along with the rest of his Ride to Rio team, including TV presenter Charlie Webster and ex-rugby league stars Keith Senior and Paul Highton.

The end of the 39-day adventure came 10 years to the day after Jane, from Rothwell, Leeds, began the last of all her charity challenges – a 4,200-mile cycle ride across the US.

Jane captured inspired millions with a series of challenges, including countless bike rides, marathons and triathlons, after she was told she had incurable breast cancer in August 2000.

By the time she died in 2007, she had raised almost £2million for charity – a fundraising effort which has been continued by her family through the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

She was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award in 2002.

The Ride to Rio team set off from London.

The Ride to Rio team set off from London.

Her emotional husband said in Brazil: “On August 31 2006, Jane stood on Staten Island looking across at Manhattan, knowing the next day she would cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge and complete her ride across America.

“We looked at each other and we knew her athletic exploits were over. She would head home knowing her days were limited.

“On the ride she gave everything despite aggressive liver cancer and extensive bone disease.

“She felt huge relief that her cycling journey was complete but an overwhelming sadness that her life was drawing to a close.”

Charlie Webster reaches Rio.

Charlie Webster reaches Rio.

Mr Tomlinson, who set out from London on June 27, said: “Today was my equivalent of that Staten Island moment.

“As I cycled up to the top of Christ the Redeemer, I thought of Jane and her incredible achievement with every pedal stroke.

“No-one, except for a handful of people, knew what she went through and how hard she had to dig in.

“Our challenge, while it paled in comparison to the ride across America, was tough, both emotionally and physically. But it has really reinforced to me just how indomitable Jane’s spirit was.”

Ms Webster said: “I feel overwhelmed, in awe of what we’ve achieved, relieved that I made it and all the emotion that I’ve had pent up for the past 39 days has just poured out. Yes, I cried.

“Knowing a small bit of what Jane was going through when she rode across America and the sheer grit she had to show is evidence that we can battle any adversity and make a difference.”

To donate visit justgiving.com/RidetoRio or text JRTR70 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.