Channel 5’s Tour de Celeb launches on Monday, with 8 celebrities given just 3 months to prepare for one of the toughest physical and mental challenges on television, racing against each other in two teams on L’Étape du Tour.
Since April each of the celebrities was put on a regime to prepare them physically and mentally for the task ahead. They will be placed in teams and will pit themselves against each other to come out victorious.
With the help of some pro cyclists, they’ll train hard to be the team that is named winners of Tour de Celeb.
The celebs, Jodie Kidd, Lucy Mecklenburg, Louis Spence, Hugo Taylor, Darren Gough, Austin Healey, Amy Williams and Angelica Bell, all trained hard for the tough 122km Étape route, which they completed earlier this year and will form the culmination of the series.
After completing the revised route, one of their number, Lucy Mecklenburgh, published photographs of the resultant bruises and blisters.
This year’s L’Etape du Tour route featured 2,873m of elevation gain. Of the eight celebrities to tackle it, ex-rugby player Austin Healey seems to have been the quickest, finishing in a time of 4h44m41s.
It looks like they all completed the challenge, however.
Giving interviews in the run up to the series airing, Jodie Kidd told the Daily Express: “As soon as I was offered Tour De Celeb, I said I’d love to do it.
“I’d only ever done charity bike rides so I thought this would be an amazing chance to learn how to ride properly. It was such an exciting prospect.”
“It hit me square in the face how blooming hard it would be. You don’t think about that until you’re on your bike toiling up the mountain passes.
“I suffered because I’m tall. Carting myself uphill is tough, I can tell you.
“When you’re on a long ride and every part of your body is screaming at you in pain, through your blood, sweat and tears, you think, ‘Why do I need to do this?’
Dancer Louis Spence told What’s on TV: “Honestly, I’ve never done anything so difficult in my life! Talk about being thrown in at the deep end! I mean as a kid, I had a Chopper with tassels hanging off it and that was the last bike I had. After our first long cycle ride, I literally had to get someone to lift me off the bike because I’d totally seized up!”
He added: “It’s three months of training and we had to go out every day on the bike. When I took the challenge on, I thought being physically fit would get me through it, but it’s the mental side that’s so tough. You hit the wall and you’ve got to get through it.
“Dancing is short bursts of energy whereas this is all about endurance. They eased us into our training with 5 miles, then 10, then 20 miles and that’s when you really started to feel the pain.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.