1. ITV Report

Ride to Rio team conquer challenge

A team of cyclists riding from London to Rio de Janeiro in tribute to the late inspirational Jane Tomlinson today conquered their near 3,000 mile epic challenge.

The team at the Christ the Redeemer Statue 39 days after departing

The team which includes Jane’s husband Mike, TV presenter Charlie Webster and ex-Rugby League stars Keith Senior and Paul Highton – triumphantly road up to Mount Corcovado, finishing at the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue, 39 days after leaving London.

The incredible journey comes exactly 10 years after the late amateur athlete Jane Tomlinson CBE embarked on her 4,200 mile ride across America and is being staged to celebration Jane’s achievements and raise money to continue her legacy.

Credit: ITV News

On 31st August 2006, Jane stood on Staten Island looking across at Manhattan knowing the next day she would cycle over the Brooklyn Bridge and complete her ride across America.

We looked at each other and we knew her athletic exploits were over. She would head home knowing her days were limited. On the ride she gave everything despite aggressive liver cancer and extensive bone disease.

She felt huge relief that her cycling journey was complete but an overwhelming sadness that her life was drawing to a close.

Today was my equivalent of that Staten Island moment. As I cycled up to the top of Christ the Redeemer, I thought of Jane and her incredible achievement with every pedal stroke. No one, except for a handful of people, knew what she went through and how hard she had to dig in.

Our challenge, while it paled in comparison to the Ride Across America, was tough, both emotionally and physically. But it has really reinforced to me just how indomitable Jane’s spirit was.

Thank you to everyone who came with us on our journey – either physically or by backing us through sponsorship of other support. We could not have done it without you.

– Mike Tomlinson
Keith, Charlie and Mike at Barra Olympic Park Credit: ITV News

It's so hard to put into words what it means to climb to the top of Christ Redeemer after setting off 39 days ago from London. I feel overwhelmed, in awe of what we've achieved, relieved that I made it and all the emotion that I've had pent up for the past 39 days has just poured out! Yes I cried!

We have been through so much, the mental and emotional strength it takes to tackle the challenges we've faced both individually and as a team is just raw determination.

Knowing a small bit of what Jane was going through when she rode across America and the sheer grit she had to show is evidence that we can battle any adversity and make a difference.

The incredible messages I've received from people back home have kept me going. Thank you to all those that have encouraged me, believed in me and donated to the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, a fantastic cause, in the name of a remarkable woman.

– Charlie Webster

When I decided to do this challenge I will be honest, the appealing factor was cycling through Brazil. Following the guys cycling through Europe I was itching to get out with the gang.

What an amazing adventure to be involved in and to reach our final destination. It won’t actually sink in untiI I get home but I know it’s up there as one of the best challenges I have done. I also met some great people along the way.

– Keith Senior

For more information and for ways to donate click here.

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