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Wednesday 11th December: Welsh rugby legend, Gareth Thomas, has this evening completed the third leg of his gruelling 500-mile, seven-day cycle challenge: The Tour De Trophy, for Sport Relief.

Setting off at 8.00am this morning, today’s 75-mile stretch saw Gareth travel from Warrington to Kendal, passing through Preston, Bilsborrow and Galgate. BBC Radio 2’s OJ Borg and comedian Stephen Bailey, proved to be the perfect support team with Gareth on the Quatrocycle, as wind, rain and hailstorms threatened to dampen spirits.

With 270 miles still to go, the former Welsh and British Lions rugby captain is on his way to the P&J arena in Aberdeen, as he attempts to raise life changing cash for Sport Relief and also deliver the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy to the live awards show on Sunday 15th December in time to be presented to this year’s winner. 

BBC Radio 2 Presenter OJ Borg said: “Hail in the face today…hail in the face! It’s essentially sea weather. It’s really, really hard on that bike. But to be able to play the smallest part in Gareth’s mammoth journey for Sport Relief was a real pleasure. He is a legend, not just in rugby…he is just simply a legend. It’s been such a challenging day, which is why it’s all the more important for everyone to get behind Gareth and do their bit to support him for the rest of the challenge.”

Today Gareth also learnt more about the work Sport Relief makes possible when it comes to fighting stigma around LGBTQ+ issues in the UK. He met 38-year-old Verity, who is a community development worker at Yorkshire MESMAC, who shared personal experiences of facing prejudice after he transitioned from female to male. Verity, also a fellow former rugby player, works to engage LGBTQ+ people in sport and activity in a bid to help them overcome barriers and improve their wellbeing.

Gareth Thomas said: “Today has been incredibly tough. I felt emotionally drained but what has been keeping me going is the people I have met at Sport Relief projects. Today I met Verity from the project Yorkshire MESMAC, who do phenomenal work to engage people from LGBTQ+ communities in sport, to help break down barriers. I’ve been in similar environments myself, so I know just how prejudice sports changing rooms can be, which is why its vitally important to change attitudes.

“Today was a real challenge for me on so many levels; but meeting Verity and learning about how he has become such a strong voice for his community was incredible and was everything I needed to spur me on to tonight’s finishing line here in Kendal.”

Since setting off from Cardiff on Monday morning, Gareth has cycled more than 230 miles, taking in towns, cities and market towns across England and Wales. Tomorrow morning Gareth will set-off from Kendal with the Scottish border in his sights. All of the excitement will be captured and live-streamed on BBC Sport and documented across BBC Radio 5 Live.

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