Ex-Cherries and Pompey player Sylvain Distin cycling for Ukraine

  • Published
Related Topics
Part of the cycling team taking on the challengeImage source, @hotrodpostcards
Image caption,
Every penny raised will go towards the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

A former footballer is setting off on a cycle ride to raise money for Ukrainian aid.

Sylvain Distin, who played for Bournemouth and Portsmouth, will lead a team of nine cyclists 807 miles (1,300km) from Sandbanks in Dorset to St Tropez in the south of France.

They are hoping to complete the challenge in 10 back-to-back days after months of preparation.

Mr Distin said 'I've never taken on anything quite as big as this before'.

"I like to push myself and see what I'm capable of. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve all together as a team…and enjoying St Tropez once we've crossed the finish line," the former Everton and Manchester City defender said.

Image source, @sandbankssttropez
Image caption,
The team are hoping to reach the end point by the 27 May

For Jemma Harding, one of the team members, the ride is more than just a physical challenge - it's about overcoming an accident that changed her life.

She was involved in a collision with a lorry while she was riding her bike in London and needed 12 hours of emergency surgery.

She said: "I didn't know if I would be able to walk or cycle again. After the accident, I moved back home to Dorset to recover.

"I got stronger and stronger and I just knew that I would get back on a bike one day. I didn't want to let what had happened defeat me.

"It's going to be really tough but it is for a really important cause and I have every confidence in our amazing team."

Follow BBC South on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to south.newsonline@bbc.co.uk.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.