Kettering cyclist nears Paris finish of Tour de France charity ride

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The Tour 21 is organised by Cure Leukaemia, the official UK charity partner of ASO’s Tour de France

A Kettering cyclist is due to cross the finish line in the Champs-Élysées, Paris, as he and 17 racing fundraisers complete the gruelling course of the Tour de France.

Andy Parker is part of The Tour 21, a team of amateur riders taking part in the multi-stage race across Denmark and France and will ride the final stage on Sunday, July 17.

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The 55-year-old set off from Copenhagen on June 24 on the incredible endurance challenge where riders tackle the entire route of the Tour de France just one week ahead of the professionals.

Andy Parker and Geoff Thomas at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris last yearAndy Parker and Geoff Thomas at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris last year
Andy Parker and Geoff Thomas at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris last year

So far the group has raised more than £827,588 and hope to reach their £1million target for Cure Leukaemia.

Before the grand depart Andy said: “I am not a gifted cyclist – I am just a bloke who rides a bike. It’s tough and it’s no holiday.”

The team has received messages of support from the likes of Gary Lineker and former Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic Gold medalist Sir Bradley Wiggins.

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Andy and 17 other riders completed three stages in Denmark before moving to France.

Andy Parker makes his way through the rain in FranceAndy Parker makes his way through the rain in France
Andy Parker makes his way through the rain in France

The riders have had to deal with the uncomfortable cobblestones of Northern France to the mind-boggling climbs and descents in the Alps including the infamous Alpe d’Huez.

Over the course of 48 hours last week, the team cycled up over 8,500m of elevation - the equivalent of 26 Eiffel Towers or 1,954 double-decker buses stacked on top of each other.

Sadly, Cure Leukaemia Patron and co-founder of The Tour 21, Geoff Thomas MBE, had to step off the bike and withdraw after the first week due to injury, bringing his 2022 ride to an end. However, the former footballer and blood cancer survivor has pivoted into campaigning mode to help the ride smash its target of raising £1million.

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He said: “It was a really tough decision to stop but the brutal nature of the Tour has eventually worn down my body until my knee could take no more punishment. I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis in my knees for a while and it was becoming too painful to pedal, with swelling too.

“I know that the team out there is going to smash it though - there’s such camaraderie in that group and some really inspiring people who can motivate so many more to get involved in this event.

“Collectively we’ve raised over 70 per cent of our target but there’s still a long way to go so we all need to keep pushing and spreading the word of the amazing efforts that each and every one of the riders is putting in day in day out.”

Helping the riders keep going each day is a full support crew including ride leaders, support vehicles, physiotherapists, mechanics and other helpers to allow the riders to focus on the job of getting to the next finish line.

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To donate to The Tour 21’s fundraising efforts on the event’s Just Giving page here.

If you’ve been inspired by The Tour 21 and would like to enquire about riding the 2023 event, visit

To support Andy and the team go to