By Tom Degun
November 26 – Sarah Storey (pictured), the seven-time Paralympic gold medallist, will attempt one of the world's most spectacular cycling challenges, the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, which was launched earlier this year, to help raise money for British athletes competing in London 2012.
The Deloitte Ride Across Britain is due to begin on Saturday June 12, 2010, and will last for nine days as the 650 participants – led by Storey and Olympic double gold medallist rower James Cracknell – cycle the iconic 1,008 mile route from John O'Groats in the Scottish highlands to Land's End in Cornwall.
When the cyclists reach Land's End on Sunday June 20, 2010, they would have cycled an average of 110 miles a day on route to their destination in order to raise money for the event's charity partners – ParalympicsGB – who are hoping to receive a total of £1 million from the event between 2010 and 2013.
The money raised for ParalympicsGB will be used to support British athletes as they prepare for London 2012 and will go towards helping the team achieve their goal of finishing second on the medal table for the fourth successive Games where one of the stars should be the remarkable Storey.
Having competed in her first Paralympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 at swimming when she was just 14, Storey claimed 16 Paralympic medals – five of which were gold – between then and the Athens 2004 Games in the pool before deciding to switch to Para-cycling where she claimed a further two gold medals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.
Storey, 32, believes that The Deloitte Ride Across Britain is another exciting challenge that will fit perfectly into her training schedule.
She told insidethegames: "I have always wanted the opportunity to do the end to end ride across Britain and even spoke to my parents about it so when the opportunity to participate in The Deloitte Ride Across Britain came up - and fitted in with my training ahead of the World Championships - I was delighted to sign up.
"Obviously I will be cycling further than I do in training but I do cycle a lot of long distances out on the road so it will not be too different from what I am use to though it is still quite a way."
Storey said she is delighted the money raised from the ride will be going to ParalympicsGB and therefore will be helping many of her teammates ahead of the London 2012 Games.
She said: "It is hugely important for me that the money raised is going to ParalympicsGB who will be able to provide our team with the best training opportunities and best equipment ahead of the London 2012 where we hope to be challenging for top spot.”
Phil Lane, the chief executive of ParalympicsGB, said: "It's fantastic that Sarah will be leading the Ride across Britain in 2010.
"She is an excellent ambassador for Paralympic sport and a world-class athlete, as proven by her many Paralympic medals.
"I hope that Sarah's involvement in the ride will also help us in our ambition of challenging perceptions of disability.
"We are delighted that Deloitte have chosen to support us in this exciting way.”
Cracknell said: "Sarah Storey is a fantastic role model and will inspire a new generation of athletes for London 2012.
"Taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain demonstrates her constant drive for the next challenge as shown by her incredible success in two sports at Paralympic level.
"We hope that Paralympians of the future will benefit from a substantial sum of money raised by the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, making everybody involved contributors for what could be a very successful 2012 Paralympic Games."
For more information on The Deloitte Ride Across Britain mass participation event, click here.
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