England and Sussex star Matt Prior enters final stages of arduous cycling challenge

Former England cricket star Matt Prior. Picture courtesy of Habibur Rahman.
Former England cricket star Matt Prior. Picture courtesy of Habibur Rahman.

Former England and Sussex cricket star Matt Prior is nearing the end of his gruelling 21-day cycling challenge as he takes on the Tour de France route.

Aiming to raise £300,000 for Parkinson's UK, Dan's Trust and Chance to Shine, Prior is taking on all 21 stages of the prestigious route, cycling a huge total distance of 3,490km. The full route will be ridden by ten people.

On July 5, the day before the actual Tour de France, Prior , who won three consecutive Ashes titles with England, rode 194km for the first stage, starting in Brussels, before a shorter 27.6km ride through the same city for Stage Two the following day.

Stage three saw the former England cricketer tackle 215km on a hilly route, before a flat Stage Four saw him take his total up to 650.1km with a 213.5km ride from Reims to Nancy.

His fifth day of riding saw him cycle from Saint-Die-des-Vosges to Colmar in a 175.5km hilly circuit, before a shorter 160.5km ride through the mountains on day six. This was followed by a seventh consecutive day of cycling which saw Prior take on the flat 230km route between Belfort and Chalon-sur-Saone, taking his total distance for the first week up to 1,216.1km.

See also Ashes winner and Sussex star Matt Prior to compete in gruelling Tour de France challenge for charity

The second week of cycling began with a hilly 200km route on July 12, before a 170.5km circuit through hills the following day. Day ten of 'The 21' saw the return of the flat surfaces for Prior and his fellow riders, with the 217.5km ride between Saint-Flour and Albi.

After a day's rest on July 15, Stage 11 proposed a flat 167km route before a tough mountainous route at Stage 12 took the total distance to 2180km. Stage 13 was an individual time-trial spanning 27.2km with some difficult clims along the way, and Stage 14 saw Prior complete the 117.5km mountainous route between Tarbes and Tourmalet Bareges.

On July 20, Matt Prior and his fellow riders tackled their last ride before another rest day, completing the mountainous 185km route between Limoux and Foix Prat d'Albis.

Returning to cycling on July 22, the flat, 177km Stage 16 stood in their way. Then on July 23, Prior entered the final five stages of the route with the hilly, 200km Stage 17 taking his total to 2,880.8km.

In the upcoming days, Prior will have to contest with four more stages, three of which are mountainous, consisting of just under 600km as he strives to reach the end destination of Paris' Champs-Elysees.