Riding the Tour de France route has always been a dream for one Sheffield man – and now it is about to become a reality.
Alain Gordon-Seymour, from Woodseats, is planning to ride the entire 3,360km route around France this summer to raise funds for a Sheffield charity.
The Sheffield Hallam University graduate, who works as a senior engineer for construction firm Balfour Beatty by day, has been putting in miles and miles of gruelling training in his spare time in preparation for the trip of a lifetime.
Alain, a member of Rutland Cycling Club, has been sticking to a special diet to keep off the pounds and has recruited his parents and sister as his support team – they will follow him around France in a campervan.
And the 37-year-old is doing it all for a special cause. He will be raising money for PACT House, a charity which provides accommodation for families whose children are being treated for cancer at the city’s Children’s Hospital.
Alain said: “From about the age of 12, I have been captivated by the mystique and romance of the Tour de France.
“My introduction began when our French teacher allowed us to watch The Tour during lessons. I’m not sure how this was meant to improve our French, but I can clearly remember being incredibly excited by the enormity of it all.
“My goal is to ride the 100th Tour de France, stage for stage, day for day.
“I will have to dig very deep to complete the challenge in 23 days – the same time as the professional cyclists.
“The implications of realising a lifelong dream are massive and very intimidating and I have worked exceptionally hard to get to the point where I could even consider undertaking this challenge.”
PACT – the Parents’ Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia – was founded in 1977 and is based on Western Bank, Broomhill.
The house has five ensuite bedrooms and two lounges, providing families with somewhere to stay while their children are being treated.
It provides trips and treats for the families and has two holiday caravans for their use.
Alain said: “It is a very worthwhile cause and one I chose to raise money for following the death of a friend’s daughter.”
Before he sets off on his main mission from Corsica on Saturday, July 27, Alain will ride the Yorkshire stages of next year’s Tour De France on June 8 and 9.
n To find out more log on to www.tourdealain.com or seewww.justgiving.com/Tour-De-Alain to make a donation.