Geraint Thomas congratulates Bristol boy on virtual Everest ride

image captionTheo has aspirations to be a professional cyclist and says he may take on another fundraising challenge in the future

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has congratulated a boy who has raised more than £9,000 by virtually cycling to the top of Everest.

It took Theo Hester more than 16 hours to complete the leg-sapping challenge of climbing 8,848m (29,029ft).

"I feel great, it was a really big challenge. It's a feeling of relief and joy," the 13-year-old said.

Olympic gold medallist Thomas sent Theo a message saying "great job" after he completed the challenge on Saturday.

He added the teenager had "earned his Easter chocolate" this year.

image copyrightFiona Hester
image captionThe 13-year-old from Stoke Bishop completed the challenge on Saturday

Theo took on the challenge after hearing about St Peter's Hospice's financial struggles during the pandemic from his mum Fiona, who volunteers there.

He had aimed to raise £1 for every metre cycled but smashed his target to reach £9,173.

"It really motivated me because I was backed by lots and lots of people," he said.

"St Peter's Hospice were really helpful and that good cause just drove me and all the people donating on Just Giving. I really wanted to do them proud."

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He used an app called Zwift to cycle the height of the mountain on a turbo trainer bike, and said it was harder than he had imagined it.

"The physical side, my legs are just broken now but the mental side of it as well. You can't contemplate it all at once, you've got to break it down.

"I thought that my planning was good enough but it turned out that my splits went slower and slower, but having people come and join me for some of the riding really motivated me again," he added.

Thomas and fellow cyclist Mark Beaumont recorded videos to spur Theo on ahead of the challenge.

The hospice has described him as a "total inspiration."

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