TV gardener Chris Beardshaw in Bradley Wiggins-style cycling challenge

Landscape designer and broadcaster Chris Beardshaw is set to take on one of the toughest cycle rides in the world for charity Arthritis Research UK.

Beardshaw and his Gloucester based road cycling team, will take part in the Haute Route from 19-25 August 2012

Only 500 cyclists are accepted onto the race and very few Britain’s get the chance to take part. This race sees cyclists from 27 countries cross the Alps from the Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean, covering 780 km and 21,000 metres of ascent in seven days. The race covers part of the Tour De France route and features seven world-famous cities and mountain resorts: Geneva, Megève, Courchevel, Alpe d’Huez, Risoul, Auron and Nice.

Beardshaw said:

"I think most people will be very surprised at the high numbers of people that are affected by arthritis in this country. I know from my own diagnosis many years ago that it doesn’t spell the end of being able to enjoy what you love doing. I have learnt to manage my condition and one of the most important ways for me to do so is with regular exercise with my biggest love and passion undoubtedly being road cycling. 

"To take part in the Haute Route and even just to get to the starting line is a huge achievement for me and I am really looking forward to riding and hopefully raising some funds for Arthritis Research UK in the process. Cycling with my team mates, all from Gloucestershire, will be the culmination of a year of hard training and an experience of a lifetime for us all."

Arthritis Research UK director of fundraising,Louise Holland said:

"We are delighted that Chris is taking part in such a prestigious and exciting race for Arthritis Research UK and will be following his progress every step of the way. Arthritis is the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK and Chris will be using his personal experience of the disease to get him to the end. We wish him all the luck in the world."

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