Not for Profit

Published: May 19, 2022 | Updated: May 20, 2022

Sandbanks to St Tropez challenge underway with £19k+ already raised for Ukraine appeal

The nine-strong team, accompanied by two support crew, set off from Sandbanks, bound for St Tropez.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

…and they’re off!

A team of nine cyclists, including former professional footballer Sylvain Distin, set off on May 18 on an epic 808 mile (1,300 km) ride from Sandbanks to St Tropez in just ten days.

The international pedal-powered challenge  is believed to be a world first.

Every penny donated will go towards the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Already the initial £15,000 target has been smashed with more than £19,000 donated by 300-plus supporters.

The team should have been ten but Andy Sewell broke his left collar bone and fractured his right hand and wrist after suffering a nasty fall in his final 60-mile training session.

The accident came after four and a half months of training including cycling 1,600 miles.

“To say I am extremely gutted is more than an understatement,” he wrote on his Instagram account

Sylvain, 44, played for Manchester City, Portsmouth, Everton and AFC Bournemouth, among others, and lives in Poole.

In total, he made more than 400 English Premier League appearances.

The self-funded mission was the idea of Will Irons, inspired by childhood memories of holidays in St Tropez, and was brought to life with his brother-in-law, Dave Taylor.

Taking part are Sylvain, Will and Dave and also Simon Seymour, James Mitchell, Chris Chesterton, Tony Fitzpatrick, Martin Fitzpatrick and Jemma Harding together with two support crew.

They are pictured relaxing in France after their first day in saddle.

Distances covered in future days range from 113kms (70 miles) to 158 kms (98 miles).

They plan to reach St Tropez by Friday May 27.

The sponsors are Muc-Off, bbd, Coffee Saloon, Revoco, EPS and First Friday.

To support the Sandbanks to St Tropez challenge, please visit the JustGiving page by clicking here.