Cycling challenge is a Tour de Force for Sheffield’s Luke

Luke Milnes
Luke Milnes
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A keen Sheffield cyclist emulated the efforts of the professionals when he cycled the full route of the Tour de France to raise money for charity.

Luke Milnes, aged 30, from Broomhill, spent three weeks in the saddle cycling the 2,100 mile route taken by the professionals including British winner Chris Froome.

Luke, who works for his parents’ company Wilson Benesch in Sheffield, signed up for the challenge after hearing about it through his cycling club La Squadra, run by Nonna’s restaurateur Gian Bohan.

Luke said: “The idea came from a passion for cycling and having watched the Tour as a little boy I always thought it would be an amazing thing to do.”

The challenge was organised by not-for-profit company Tour de Force.

And when representatives from the company came to Sheffield for a training ride and to talk about the challenge, Luke decided to sign up.

Luke covered 2,100 miles, 21 stages and 48,000m in height, and raised funds for the William Wates Memorial Trust.

Luke said: “The trust exists to celebrate the life of William Wates who was tragically killed when travelling in South America.

“The Trust is a grant-giving registered charity set up in 1998 with a mission to help the most disadvantaged young people keep away from a life of crime and violence, and fulfil their potential.

“I met William’s brother Johnny when he came to Sheffield and decided that it sounded like the challenge for me.”

Luke cycled around 200 miles a week in training and said completeing the Tour was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

He said: “The day after we did the Alpe d’Huez stage, we had to do a stage which had two really steep climbs - it was pretty tough.”

Luke managed to raise £3,300 for the trust and his fundraising efforts are continuing.

Today he will be cycling on a static bike at the Forum Cafe in Devonshire Street for 24 hours and asking diners for a £1 donation.

And next Tuesday, July 30, he will be hosting an event at Nonna’s Street Food Cycle Caffè to talk about his experiences.

It begins at 7.30pm and includes a question-and-answer session with Luke.

There will also an auction of cycling jerseys signed by Sir Paul Smith and Dame Sarah Storey to raise more funds.