The 103km circuit from Orelle, over the formidable Col de la Croix de Fer and back to Orelle was baked in Alpine sunshine and proved the perfect first test of the Walking With The Wounded team. It took just 1 hour 47 minutes to complete the 28km timed ascent, during which the team stuck perfectly to the game plan of dropping a few team riders whenever they couldn’t keep up, and then holding the pace of the fastest four to get the best possible team time.
Rab Smedley proved formidable in the mountains, alongside the mountain goats Simon Oldfield and Pete Latham. Don Maclean pulled the team for much of the last 40km and Sam Shotton, the team physio rode the entire stage after Craig Preece had to pull out due to concern over his injury. Craig is hoping to join the team for stages 2 and 3 of the Trois Etapes. There were some weary soles back at base camp last night, but everyone seems to have recovered well ahead of the big one… Alpe D’Huez!
On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (29th-31st July) I am leading the Walking With The Wounded team for the Trois Etapes pro-am stage race over the legendary Alpe D’Huez. Pro-am means that these are teams lead by professionals and made up of amateurs. The biggest pro of the race is the Spanish hard man Carlos Sastres, the 1998 Tour de France winner. I am honoured to be leading the Walking With The Wounded Team and before you all point out the obvious, I am not pretending to be a professional road racer. But it would seem that my cycling credentials are strong enough to qualify!
In total we will be climbing an intimidating 5990 metres in 3 days racing and hence our Walking With The Wounded charity target is £5990. Please do sponsor us on our Just Giving page or text WWTW99 to 70070 to sponsor £5. All fundraising goes straight to supporting the rehabilitation of wounded servicemen and women.
The team is made up of Craig Preece who lost his right leg after his tank was hit by an IED, Don Maclean who sustained serious foot injuries after standing on an IED, Rab Smedley who sustained spinal and head injuries after a sporting accident, Pete Latham from LDC and Simon Oldfield from Matrix.
LDC, Matrix and A-Gas are the Walking With The Wounded teams corporate sponsors and many thanks to their generosity for making this event possible for us. We are under no illusion as to the scale of the what lies ahead – it promises to be a grueling yet stunning three days on the bike.
Hot on the heels of Wiggins, Froome and Cavendish, I am really looking forwards to taking on the toughest climbs in the French alps and hopefully having enough energy left to tell you all about it!
The Queen’s Baton Relay – one of the great traditions...