The London-Paris 2012 officially starts on 21st June. 450 riders - who have spent months dedicating their time to training - will head to the start-line at Imber Court, Surrey to begin the three stage, 507 km ride from London to Paris.
Cycling enthusiasts, professionals, legends and celebrities will all rub shoulders in the peloton. Very few sporting events allow enthusiasts to ride with the sport's legends, making The London-Paris a unique event. The event has rolling road closures in France, motorbike outriders, Skoda lead vehicles, Mavic neutral service and mechanical support. Timed flagged sections enable the riders to compete for jerseys, bringing participants as close as it's possible to get to the experience of the professionals on The Tour de France.
Stage 2 of The London-Paris 2011: The peloton
This year there are seven speed groups, led by 17 HotChillee Ride Captains. The start-line will see an array of stars cross it, including cycling legend Stephen Roche who is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Triple Crown Win (The Tour de France, The Giro d'Italia and The World Championships). As part of the celebrations he will be riding his fully restored Battaglin bike into Paris; the bike he won the Tour de France on in 1987. The event will be followed by a special gala dinner, dedicated to Stephen Roche's anniversary celebrations.
Other cycling legends participating are Tour de France hero and World Champion winner Maurizio Fondriest, current professional cyclist Magnus Backstedt and professional ex German National mountain-biker Karl Platt - who's won the Trans Alp 7 times and the Absa Cape Epic four times. Formula One legend Nigel Mansell, rugby heroes Joel Stransky and Will Carling, former professional footballers Geoff Thomas and John Salako and former Olympic medallist and athletics World champion Sonia O'Sullivan will also form the peloton.
This year also marks the first year a hand cyclist team has taken on the challenge. The Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust team, sponsored by Stewarts Law LLP, will complete The London-Paris 2012 with the aim of raising £500,000. The money raised will go to the Spinal Injuries Centre - the birthplace of the Paralympics back in 1948 and a Centre of Excellence in spinal medicine.
2012 is also a record year for Team involvement, with over 125 corporate applications for 35 team slots; more than any previous year. The teams come from a wide variety of sectors, including media, technology, FMCG and financial. Teams participating this year include Adobe, ICAP, Tullett Prebon, Hogan Lovells, Moet & Chandon, DHL and Blackberry.
Team Tullett Prebon 2011
This year, Adobe has teamed with HotChillee to become the official Training Jersey partner and Garmin is an official Ride Captain Sponsor, supplying all Ride Captains with the latest Garmin Edge 800, complete with European street mapping and heart rate monitors.
Alongside Adobe, Top Tier partners are Retail Partner Chain Reaction Cycles, Clothing Partner LeMarq, Insurance Partner Cyclosure, Logistics Partner DHL, Vehicle Partner Skoda, Lunch partner and sponsor of Leaders' Jerseys Chazal, Bike Partner Vitus and Training Partner Wattbike.
HotChillees four Charity Partners include, Leukaemia Lymphoma Research in partnership with Geoff Thomas, UK Youth, The Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust and DEBRA.
The official HotChillee Ride Captain Sponsors include Chain Reaction Cycles, Mavic, On, LeMarq, adidas Eyewear, Wattbike, Cyclosure, Garmin and Vitus and the official partners for 2012 include Mavic, SiS, Regus, MapMyTracks, Eurosport, The TriTouch, Stephen Roche Training Camps and 76 Harley Street. The official suppliers for 2012 are Moet & Chandon, Sportique and Haribo.
The support cars and Ride Captains help the peloton on The London-Paris 2011
Sven Thiele, founder of HotChillee says: "Nine years' ago we started The London-Paris as 13 riders. This year we've got a group of 450 committed riders from professionals, to legends to celebrities to keen enthusiasts and many have attended our monthly training rides. The camaraderie has already begun. The London-Paris has grown to become a hugely successful and incredibly fun, safe and professional event. It's set to be another smashing year for The London-Paris - and with Stephen Roche celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Triple Crown it will be even more special. I can't wait to get out there with the riders."
The final straight into Paris. With rolling road closures, this is as close as it gets to The Tour de France