Rugby resident Trevor Clarke is preparing for the biggest challenge of his life after becoming the latest cyclist to join former England football international and blood cancer survivor, Geoff Thomas, on ‘Le Tour – One Day Ahead’.
Trevor, from Newton Village, will pedal over 3,300km as he tackles the 21 gruelling stages of the 2015 Tour de France route – a day before the professional peloton – to help ex-Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Geoff raise £1million for Cure Leukaemia.
The fact 49-year-old Trevor is even considering taking on arguably sport’s greatest endurance challenge is testament to his determination to raise money for the lifesaving work of the Birmingham-based blood cancer charity.
He has had to overcome countless injuries and operations from his younger days spent competing as a grasstrack and speedway motorbike rider.
Trevor has broken a leg, collarbone (twice), shoulder blade, ribs, wrist and hand, punctured a lung, undergone six knee operations – including two anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions – torn a thigh muscle and, more recently, has suffered from hip and groin issues.
But he is still determined to tackle the Le Tour route that is a challenge even for professional cyclists to complete. Trevor will be riding in memory of lost loved ones and to boost the chances of blood cancer patients surviving the disease.
“Due to the number of serious injuries I’ve had, I regard health as the greatest gift and have always tried to keep fit.
My initial focus is managing my injuries to be able to train enough and complete the ride. This challenge is on a different level to anything I’ve attempted before but I’m totally driven to complete the Tour de France route.
I lost my mum and close friend to cancer and am passionate about Cure Leukaemia’s work. I genuinely want to do something that will make a difference and help save lives. This isn’t about me. It’s about everyone who is touched by this devastating disease."
Le Tour – One Day Ahead will be an uphill task for Trevor in every sense, as there are just 50 days left for him to get ready for the first stage in Utrecht on July 3.
“I’m under no illusions about what I’m taking on – it’s going to be hard and emotional.
I have a lot of respect for the tour, and what the pros put themselves through. Just being ready, let alone the actual ride, will be a massive effort in itself.”
Trevor has a track record of not allowing his injury history prevent him from overcoming personal endurance tests.
Some years ago, he cycled up and down Mont Ventoux – an iconic Tour de France climb – three times in a day and rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats in five and a half days unsupported.
Trevor also completed the first, 120-mile, Leeds-Harrogate stage of last year’s Tour de France, when the seeds were sewn for his partnership with Geoff.
“After riding Leeds-Harrogate, I saw Geoff mention on TV he maybe cycling the Tour de France route again,” explained Trevor.
“Me being me, I totally forgot about it, but for some reason I remembered it a few weeks ago. After searching for info on the internet, I got in touch with Geoff and the rest is history. I read Geoff’s book years ago. It’s amazing. He’s an inspiration. I’m delighted to be helping him.”
The 2015 Tour de France marks the tenth anniversary of 1990 FA Cup Final captain Geoff first completing the route – incredibly, just six months after going into remission.
“Trevor’s injury record reads even worse than mine from my playing days!” quipped Geoff.
“Joking aside, I’m delighted Trevor has come on board. I’ve been impressed with his enthusiasm for the ride and determination to help blood cancer patients.
It’s going to be a tough challenge, but having such dedicated riders alongside will help all of us achieve our goal – not just completing the route but raising £1milllion for Cure Leukaemia.”
In 2003, Geoff was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia, a form of blood cancer, and given less than three months to live. Following treatment from Cure Leukaemia Co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock, including a stem cell transplant from sister Kay, Geoff has been in remission since January 2005.
The work being undertaken by Professor Craddock at the world-renowned Centre for Clinical Haematology in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, is boosting the fight against blood cancers on a national and international scale.
Visit Trevor’s fundraising page here: www.justgiving.com/trevorclarke1
As a way of spreading awareness of Trevor's fundraising, he has branded one of his racing cars with the Cure Leukaemia logo!