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Marlow cyclist completes mammoth Tour de France challenge

A group of female cylists looking to bridge the gender gap in the sport completed a mammoth annual challenge as the men competed in the Tour de France.

Unable to travel to Europe due to the pandemic, the InternationalElles- headed up by Marlow rider Louise Gibson – cycled the equivalent distance and height of the men’s route in just six days.

The 10 international riders first completed a four-day, non-stop team relay of 3,484km from home on static bikes.

The five UK-based riders then took on the ‘Everesting’ challenge, climbing the full 8,848 metres – equivalent to Mount Everest - in 18 hours on the Bwlch climb in South Wales.

The rules of Everesting are that you must reach the total elevation of Everest by riding up your chosen climb in a single attempt, with strictly no sleep allowed.

The group joins only 446 female riders from around the world who have completed this feat.

Global events manager Louise said: “We are thrilled to have completed the challenge.

“The Tour de France distance relay was tough, but we were able to complete it as a team.

“The Everesting was one of the most incredible days I’ve had on my bicycle and I’m so proud all five of our UK-based riders managed to complete it together.

“The climb was amazing and the weather was on our side. I’m delighted that even though we weren’t able to go to France we were able to keep the conversation going about the inequalities that exist in cycling.”

British Cycling had wished the group ‘the best of luck’ in their challenge, adding that its #WeRide strategy aims to narrow the gender gap and inspire millions of women to take to the bike.

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