Former England cricketer acts quickly to avert tragedy on first day of Cycle Slam 2012 Athens-London ride

Former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff is being credited with having saved the life of a fellow cyclist taking part in the Cycle Slam 2012 charity ride which he is jointly leading with ex-England rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio.

The drama unfolded on the first day of the 1,785 mile ride to London’s Olympic Stadium from the site of the original Olympic Games in Greece when David Yarnton, aged 53 and the head of Nintendo UK fell from his bike due to the heat, reports the Daily Mirror.

According to one of the other riders there, Ashes star Flintoff quickly reached the stricken cyclist and put him in the recovery position, waiting by his side until an ambulance arrived.

“Freddie did a great job, said the unnamed rider. “He knew exactly what to do when he realised David was in trouble. It was a hot day and the conditions got too much for him.

"It was the 100-mile first stage and everyone was finding it tough. David was out cold and in a bad way. It’s no exaggeration to say that Freddie probably saved his life.”

Mr Yarnton was due to be flown back to the UK yesterday evening following  treatment for a heart problem, adds the newspaper.

David Roberts, who is accompanying the ride as physiotherapist, said on Twitter: “Well done on 1st aid mission yesterday en route to Messalonghi Fred – quick-thinking.”

Flintoff and Dallaglio are now 600 miles into their journey and aim to arrive at the Olympic Park on May 18. Along the way they will be accompanied by celebrities including Arsenal legend turned Match of the Day pundit, Lee Dixon and another former England footballer, Graeme Le Saux - the picture above is from the Facebook page of his sponsor, Amazon Creek.

The ride aims to raise £2,012,000 for Cancer Research UK and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Their progress can be made on the Dallaglio Flintoff 2012 website, while donations can be made via Virgin Money Giving or by texting SLAM5 or SLAM10 to 70300 to contribute, respectively, £5 or £10.


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.