The Tour 21 Begins

19th June 2021


A team of 18 amateur cyclists have begun riding the full 21 stages of the 2021 Tour de France route, one week ahead of the professionals setting off from Brest, Brittany for Stage 1 on Saturday 19th June. The Tour 21 aims to raise in excess of £1,000,000 for national blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia and the team has raised over £840,000 towards that target.

The team originally had 25 members but 7 unfortunately had to drop-out of the event due to the self-isolation requirements of the French government due to COVID-19. The majority of the team had their second vaccinations more than 2 weeks prior to the event and could therefore travel to France without the need to self-isolate. With confidence the event would go ahead as planned the team’s fundraising has accelerated in the last 10 days with close to £100,000 raised for Cure Leukaemia in that time.


Cure Leukaemia, which was announced as the first ever official Charity Partner of the Tour de France in the UK for the next three years, recorded a £1,700,000 fundraising shortfall in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and The Tour 21 team aims to help the charity address this shortfall in funding by completing all 3,384km of the world’s most famous and prestigious professional cycling event.

All funds raised by The Tour 21 team will be invested in the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) which has been solely funded by Cure Leukaemia since January 2020. TAP is a network of specialist research nurses at 12 blood cancer centres located in the UK’s biggest cities and a facilitatory hub based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This network enables accelerated setup and delivery of potentially life-saving blood cancer clinical trials to run giving patients from a UK catchment area of over 20 million people access to treatments not currently available through standard care.

Ex-England footballer, blood cancer survivor and Cure Leukaemia Patron Geoff Thomas, 56, will be riding his fifth and final Tour de France challenge and before departing for France it was announced that both Geoff and his teammate Mike Hopkins, the Principle of South and City College Birmingham, had been awarded MBEs.

Speaking about the challenge ahead Geoff said:

 

After so many hurdles, we are so happy to be on French soil and starting this fantastic event. We are firmly focused on ensuring we raise and surpass £1,000,000 because every penny will directly benefit the 38,000 people who are diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in the UK each year.

 

We know the road ahead will be strenuous but knowing that we are getting ever closer to that £1,000,000 target will be our motivation.

 

I hope that the public can really get behind us in the coming 3 weeks to ensure we can surpass that target because every penny raised will directly help save lives.

 

 

Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin continued:

 

Ten days ago it looked like the event might not be able to go ahead but thanks to the changes in restrictions and a phenomenal effort from everyone involved in The Tour 21’s delivery we are thrilled that Geoff and the team have begun their challenge.

 

I would like to praise the riders who sadly couldn’t take part for all their phenomenal efforts, and I hope they will be able to take part next year or by doing their own UK-based challenges. I’d also like to thank all of the sponsors, the Cure Leukaemia team and everyone at Andy Cook Cycling for going that extra mile to ensure this event can go ahead.

 

Now the focus is surpassing £1,000,000 for Cure Leukaemia and we hope that the public will help the team by taking part in The Tour 21 virtual challenge, buying tickets for The Ultimate Cycling prize draw or by donating to the team direct. Every penny will ensure the national clinical trial network we fund can continue to help save lives.

HOW YOU CAN HELP GEOFF AND THE TOUR 21 TEAM REACH £1M

  • Make a donation to the Team's JustGiving page HERE
  • Take part in The Tour 21 Virtual Challenge HERE
  • Buy a ticket in The Ultimate Cycling Prize Draw HERE

 

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The Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP)

How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives

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"Cure Leukaemias funding of the UK Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) is a game-changer and increases the access for blood cancer patients to potentially transformative new therapies."

Sir John Bell
"Cure Leukaemias funding of the UK Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) is a game-changer and increases the access for blood cancer patients to potentially transformative new therapies."

Sir John Bell