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National Accident Helpline CEO Russell Atkinson cycles the famous Beast of Provence to raise funds for The Air Ambulance Service
As Britain welcomes the Tour de France to these shores, here at National Accident Helpline we are celebrating the achievement of our cycling CEO Russell Atkinson. Russell has raised £2,000 for our corporate charity The Air Ambulance Service by scaling the famous Mont Ventoux in Provence, a regular feature on the Tour de France route and one of its toughest challenges.
Russell travelled to France at the end of June as part of a 10-strong team organised by Premex Group, the UK’s largest provider of independent medical reports for personal injury cases. The challenge saw the team cycle over 220k in two days, with the toughest ride reserved for day two, which involved an exhausting 22km climb up the notorious Bédoin side of the 1,912m mountain in the full glare of the sun and buffeted by the Mistral wind for which Ventoux is named. Particularly punishing was the 10km forested section, where the average gradient is 10%.
Once the whole team had successfully made it to the summit, it was time to cycle down again – and with tired legs aplenty there were cheers when Russell suffered a puncture, allowing everyone a welcome few minutes’ rest.
Each of the 10 cyclists was raising money for a charity of their choice and Russell naturally plumped for The Air Ambulance Service. Each mission the service flies costs an average of £1,700 and Russell is delighted to have funded an entire mission, with spare change left over for half an hour’s worth of fuel (at £10.68 per minute, it costs a lot to keep the helicopters airborne).
“Undoubtedly this is one of the toughest challenges I have undertaken on a bike - 2 hours 35 minutes cycling up and 24 minutes coming back down again, reaching speeds of over 50 miles an hour! It’s all worth it as The Air Ambulance Service is such a great cause and I will be looking to raise a little bit more for them later in the year when we attempt the Way of the Roses Coast to Coast challenge in September.”
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