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Illness forces Lee Fancourt to abandon LEJOGLE record attempt

Gloucester cyclist unable to keep anything down - but still almost makes it to John O'Groats in three days...

Endurance cyclist Lee Fancourt, who is aiming to beak 15 Guinness World Records between now and the end of 2016, has been forced by illness to abandon his attempt to become the quickest person ever to ride from Land’s End to John and Groats and back.

The Gloucester cyclist set off from Cornwall on Monday morning aiming to break Ben Rockett’s 2010 record of 5 days 21 hours 8 minutes for riding the length of Great Britain and back.

Just a week before he set off on his latest exploit, Fancourt had broken the Guiness World Record for the most countries ridden through in 24 hours – seven, as he rode through the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, covering 323 miles.

– Gloucester's Lee Fancourt sets off on Land's End-John O'Groats and back record attempt on Monday

But on Thursday morning, having passed through Inverness overnight towards the end of what would have been the first half of his end-to-end and back again trip, the 38-year-old was forced to admit defeat.

Graham Foot, who has been providing support to Fancourt throughout his challenges, said in a post to Fancourt's Facebook page: “Day one was brilliant. Great support, a great positive vibe and no thoughts of anything negative. Then the problems started when he suddenly couldn't hold his food down on the morning of day two.

“First of all we thought it was just something he'd eaten that had not agreed with him but it soon became apparent it was more than that.  Whatever he tried the problems got worse but Lee being Lee carried on.

“Finally on third 3rd day ... I had to make a call. Just as an example Lee with just an hour’s sleep got up at 1am with horrendous stomach cramps and feeling totally empty climbed on his bike and headed off despite our attempts to suggest he rest up. It was pitch black.

“Every climb he would almost fall off as he couldn't maintain enough speed. Then he would get to a downhill and we saw him cope with 45mph long descents wondering about due to total exhaustion. Whilst doing this throwing up what food he had left in his system.

“I can hear you now. Why didn't you stop him? But this is Lee Fancourt. He doesn't know the word failure.  But this time even he could not override his body.

“The last stint was very short. He told us to go and get things to calm his stomach. Before leaving we did suggest this could be the end but he wouldn't accept it.

“So we left him and headed in front to find a shop. Once we returned I think the penny had dropped. I took him to one side and he finally agreed to stop.”

In a message to his supporters on his Facebook page, Fancourt said: “I'm truly overwhelmed with your messages of support. Thank you all so much! Sometimes it not the winning and achieving that defines us. It how we rise again after disappointment and failure that really strengthens us and defines our character.

“This was just a hurdle to me. Hurdles are called hurdles because they can be jumped over & passed. It won't be long before I'm over it and back to doing what I do best.

“Thanks again everyone, I appreciate each and every one of your messages. You all inspire me to keep going. I will write a blog about the last few days later or tomorrow for a deeper insight into what happened before, during and after," he added, before signing off, "Cheers!”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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