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Poplar biker tackles the Tour De France route ahead of the race

PUBLISHED: 12:11 25 June 2014 | UPDATED: 14:43 27 June 2014

Todd Van Hees before cycling the entire Tour de France route.

Todd Van Hees before cycling the entire Tour de France route.

Archant

What better way to get into the Tour De France spirit than cycle the course a week ahead of the famous race?

That’s the idea for Todd Van Hees, and he’s calling it a “win win” situation because he’s raising money for charity in the process.

“I feel excited and nervous as it ticks down to the big day. It’s been nine months of training. I’ve just got to be aware and not take any silly risks,” said Todd.

“The nerve-wracking part is doing it back too back, day after day, and seeing how my body will cope with that. It’s all about assessing each day as it comes.”

Todd, 44, of Milligan Street, Westferry, will travel to Leeds on Friday to put his nine months training to the test.

The 3,500km race starts in the North of England and after winding down the country hops over to Belgium before finishing in France.

“This is the first time I’ve done something like this. I’ve done 190km and lots of long distance cycling in training, but never back to back,” he said.

“I set off seven days ahead of the professionals and I do about 25km to 28km an hour on my bike.

“The professionals bikes are worth £10,000 to £20,000 and mine’s worth £2000. The lighter they are the more expensive they are generally, which means they can get more speed.”

The keen biker is raising money for the William Wates Memorial Trust - a grants giving charity which aims to support disadvantaged young people through art, sport and education.

“I’m usually a bit sceptical about where charities put their money but this one does really good things. It looks like a really worthwhile cause,” said Todd.

“It’s win win for me because it’s a fantastic experience and I get to help these people.”

Todd has raised £3,000 so far but says he doesn’t want to set a limit and hopes to raise as much as possible.

“I believe the performance I get from my body is what I put into it,” he said.

“When it’s all over I’ll be doing a lot of sleeping.

“We go through the champagne region of France so maybe I’ll even pick myself up a bottle to celebrate afterwards.”

To read Todd’s blog - where he will be posting updates throughout his journey - and help him raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust visit: http://tlvfitness.blogspot.co.uk/.

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