A cycling enthusiast has followed in the treadmarks of the sport’s elite by conquering some of the most challenging climbs in the Tour de France.
Lee Wigginton, who works at Rutland Cycling’s Whitwell store, cycled 107 miles, including 16,990ft of climbing, to complete one of the hardest and most iconic mountains on the tour, the Alpe D’Huez.
He also conquered the Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraph and the Col du Calibier to complete the stage in 7hr 33min.
Lee was one of 10,000 starters who took part in the special event and finished in a gold standard position of 755th. He was one of only 6,700 cyclists to complete the ride, which started in Le Bourg d’Oisans, south eastern France.
The professional riders in this year’s tour, including British leader Chris Froome and world road race champion Mark Cavendish, are set to ride the Alpe D’Huez today.
Lee, 35, who lives in Penn Street, Oakham, said it was a tough challenge but that he was thrilled to have emulated some of his heroes.
Lee said: “It really was a bucket list event.
“I’ve been watching the tour on TV for 20 years so to get a chance to ride one of the most iconic climbs in cycling was amazing.
“I’ve been riding road bikes and climbing mountains for years but nothing as big and as tough as that.
“I loved every pedal stroke and just had to ignore the pain in my legs on the Alpe D’Huez.
“I finished in 755th place so that’s not too bad.”
Lee said he was now looking forward to watching the rest of the Tour de France, which finishes in Paris on Sunday, and is confident Chris Froome can hold his strong lead and become the second British rider to win the event, after Bradley Wiggins’ heroics last year.
Lee said: “I don’t think anyone will beat Froome now. He is out of reach.
“And I hope Mark Cavendish can win the final stage on Sunday and became the first rider ever to win on the Champs-Elysees five times in a row.”
Rutland Cycling is set to host a free bike ride and barbecue on Sunday before showing the final stage of the Tour de France on the big screen at its store in Whitwell.
Lee, who is the store’s ride and events co-ordinator, will be leading the ride which starts at 4pm at the shop.
It will last for about an hour and a half.
Lee said: “We hope lots of people will join us for what will be another great day for British cycling.”
For more information, visit www.rutlandcycling.com