Royal Marines get ready for Tour de France challenge
Commandos will ride the 2007 Tour route
Another detachment from the British army is planning a marathon cycle ride in aid of injured comrades.
This week, we featured the story of a bomb disposal team who, despite injuries sustained in Afghanistan, are cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats for disabled servicemen.
Now it's the turn of the Royal Marines. A team of 10 dedicated cyclists from the regiment are to set off in July and follow the exact route of the 2007 Tour de France, a gruelling 2,218 mile ride starting in London and taking in all the stages of that year, including the Alps and the Pyrenees before finishing in Paris three weeks later.
The commandos and five support staff are raising money for C Group, a charity which dedicates itself to the rehabilitation of injured Royal Marines within familiar environments and also allowing Royal Marines to plan and adapt to the future.
The C Group works to provide support and assistance where it is most needed. This varies from the long term support of marines to equipment, as a wide selection of important items are not available through the military system. For example, a swimming pool is being built at 42 Commando Royal Marines to prevent the tiring round trip to Plymouth.
Cpl Shane Lawton, one of the riders, races at national level in cyclo-cross and mountain biking. He joined the marines in 2005 after eight years with the Grenadier Guards.
He said: “This is a real challenge and I can't wait to test my legs and mental strength on the same route as Lance Armstrong. This will be the ultimate cycling test."
Cpl Lawton's long term ambition is to start a cycling club/team in his home town in order to develop young riders for the future of cycle racing and to bring cycling to people who may not get a chance on their own.
For more information about the Commandos' Tour de France challenge, click here