Shane Williams, Thom Evans and Matt Johnson join Gareth as he cycles from Cardiff to Ludlow
Monday 9th December: Today rugby star Gareth Thomas has begun the toughest and most intense physical challenge of his career, as he kicked off his epic 500-mile cycle from Cardiff to Aberdeen for Sport Relief. By the end of today, he will have cycled 84 miles from Cardiff to Ludlow
Over the next seven days, Gareth will be cycling 12 hours a day as part of his mission to not only raise life-changing cash for Sport Relief, but also to deliver the BBC Sport Personality of the Year trophy from Geraint Thomas 2018 winner’s hometown to the 2019 winner at the live awards ceremony on Sunday 15th December.
At 7:30am this morning, Gareth collected the trophy from Bute Park against the backdrop of the iconic Cardiff Castle, joined in the Quattrocycle by fellow Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams, former Scottish international and Strictly Star, Thom Evans, and TV presenter Matt Johnson. Crossing the start line they were cheered on by members of Maindy Flyers, the 2018 Sport Personality of the Year winner, Geraint Thomas’, childhood cycling club.
Gareth Thomas said: “After all the nerves it’s amazing to get this challenge underway. Spirits are so high, we all sang The Greatest Showman earlier on the bike - four welsh boys belting it out. To see people coming out to support me in Cardiff, has been incredibly heartwarming. I really want people to come out and show support on the rest of this long journey, whether its donating to the work of Sport Relief or shouting a cheer.”
Shane Williams said: “I ended up steering the Quattrocycle today, we all made it to the lunch pit stop so I must have done something right! It’s a pleasure to be involved in this with a close friend like Gareth and for an important cause like Sport Relief. I have complete faith in Gareth to complete this huge challenge.”
Thom Evans said: “Gareth has done so much for Rugby and beyond. Sport Relief money helps so many people and it’s an absolute honour to be involved. If anyone can do this, Gareth can.”
Matt Johnson said: “We’ve been blessed with good weather so far, but that can all change quickly. On the bike, there’s a lot of time to chat – we’ve talked about mental health and how we can all be affected – it’s something Sport Relief money can help and it’s an important conversation to have. Gareth is a hero to me, the confidence he has had in speaking out about who he is, is inspirational.”
While raising money, Gareth is also learning about the work being done to tackle stigma in the UK, that Sport Relief makes possible, and will highlight some of the great work being done to tackle injustice on home turf. Earlier today, Gareth met project workers and beneficiaries from ‘Body and Soul, which benefits from money raised by Sport Relief, who provide community-based support for people affected by HIV, attempted suicide and adoption, from their London hub.
Tomorrow Gareth cycle a mammoth 86 miles from Ludlow to Warrington.