Riding high: cancer patient reaches new peak of achievement

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The Independent Online

Jane Tomlinson, who is suffering from terminal cancer, wept yesterday and said, "We've done it in style" after she cycled to the 6,263ft summit of Mont Ventoux on a tandem. She ascended the mountain and completed the "ultimate" biking challenge with her brother, Luke Goward, in just two hours and 15 minutes.

Jane Tomlinson, who is suffering from terminal cancer, wept yesterday and said, "We've done it in style" after she cycled to the 6,263ft summit of Mont Ventoux on a tandem. She ascended the mountain and completed the "ultimate" biking challenge with her brother, Luke Goward, in just two hours and 15 minutes.

Mrs Tomlinson, 40, whose sporting achievements after being diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago include completing the London Marathon and the Great North Run, found it hard to control her emotions as she reached the summit of the mountain in southern France. On reaching the top, she said: "Luke and I have done it in style. We had to work really hard to keep ourselves going for the last mile and a half but we were determined not to stop. It was really tough.

"The fact that we've done it on a tandem is absolutely fantastic. People say tandems are not made for this journey but we have done it. Fantastic. I think we will be having a few beers tonight to celebrate."

The ascent of Mt Ventoux is often included in the Tour de France and was where the British champion cyclist Tommy Simpson died in 1967.

Mrs Tomlinson, from Rothwell, Leeds, and her brother have been cycling an average of 60 miles per day since they began their 35-day charity ride from Rome to West Yorkshire. Their journey has taken them through Siena, Florence and Genoa in Italy and Cannes and Monte Carlo in southern France. Their future itinerary takes them to Nyons, Lyons, Paris, Calais and across the Channel to England. They hope to reach Leeds on 7 June.

Although the entire bike ride has had, and will have numerous steep climbs, yesterday's ascent was the most gruelling they will face. Le Geant de Provence, as it is also known, is nearly half as high again as Ben Nevis and has an average gradient of 10 per cent.

To date the tandem ride has raised more than £41,000 for charities including Macmillan Cancer Relief, Sparks, Hannah House and Leeds Acute Paediatric Services.

Contributions to the appeal can be made at: www.justgiving.com/Janesappeal, or by telephone on 0845 1200 829.

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