Thomas and Le Tour

The approaching climax of the 2010 Tour de France brings to mind the extraordinary courage of the former England football international and Crystal Palace captain Geoff Thomas, who announced his recovery from leukaemia by riding the 21 stages of the tour route in 2005.

The account of his epic journey, Riding Through The Storm, is a brilliant, gripping read, portraying vividly the pain and exhaustion of covering 2,200 miles on two wheels but also, with raw clarity, the ordeal Thomas went through from his diagnosis to his return to health.

Thomas raised £150,000 for cancer research by completing the course in 2005 but that was only the beginning.

The 45-year-old former midfield player, who won nine full international caps, subsequently set up the Geoff Thomas Foundation, which continues to work tirelessly to generate funds for research.

This year, alongside former Palace teammate John Salako and Foundation chairman Graham Silk, and other members of the GTF team, Thomas completed his third 550km London to Paris ride, an event for amateurs that involves three days in the saddle.

Chairman Silk, whom Thomas befriended through his consultant in Birmingham, is another who has suffered from leukaemia. ‘’This is without doubt one of the hardest things I have ever done,” Silk said. “There were moments during the ride that I wasn’t sure I was going to finish but the support from everyone was fantastic and being able to ride into Paris and be met by my family is something I’ll never forget.’’

Buy Riding Through The Storm: My Fight Back to Fitness on the Tour de France.

Visit The Geoff Thomas Foundation.


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