Tour de Kent: Ride for charity in the 'Tour de Kent'

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The Independent Online
THE Tour de France, the world's greatest cycle race, comes to the south of England for two days next month. To celebrate this historic occasion, The Independent is helping to organise the Tour de Kent, a charity bike ride from Sevenoaks to Dover in support of The Prince's Trust.

Readers will be invited to join the ride, which will take place on Sunday 3 July, just three days before the Tour de France arrives in England. Full details will appear in the Independent on Saturday.

The 65-mile ride through some of England's most glorious countryside will have a fully signed route, maps, marshals, support vehicles, mechanics, refreshment stops, first aid and en-route entertainment. Everything will be coordinated by an experienced and qualified team.

You will be able to enter as an individual, as a family or as a team. Riders will be asked to find sponsors to raise funds for The Prince's Trust, a charity which aims to help young disadvantaged people throughout the country. Prizes, including two bikes and 10 cycle helmets provided by Raleigh, will be awarded to those who raise most money for the Trust.

It will begin in the beautiful setting of Knole Park in Sevenoaks, a magnificent 1,000-acre deer park owned by Lord Sackville. Knole House, the largest private house in England, and 65 acres of the park are owned by the National Trust, which welcomes more than 80,000 visitors to the site each year.

The ride will pass through picturesque villages and delightful scenery before finishing at Dover Castle, which will be the setting three days later for the start of the first English stage of the Tour de France.

One of England's oldest and most important castles, Dover Castle is perched high above the town on an ancient headland. It commands the historic gateway to England, with spectacular views across the Channel to France.

Castle entry (normally pounds 5.25) will be free to all riders, who will be encouraged to bring family and friends to meet and congratulate them at the finish. A special discount entrance fee to Dover Castle of pounds 2.60 has been arranged for non-riders.

Full details and an entry form will appear in this Saturday's Independent.