Doctor tackles the Tour

Dr John McAvoy with Dr Nick Hudson.
Dr John McAvoy with Dr Nick Hudson.
Share this article

Sheffield doctor John McAvoy has developed a healthy respect for this weekend’s Tour de France heroes - after carrying out a through examination of all three English stages of the race.

The GP from Woodseats cycled 343 miles in just 24 hours, from Leeds to Harrogate, from York to Sheffield, and finally from Cambridge into the heart of London on The Mall.

In the process he raised over £1,000 for the charity Water Aid, with donations still coming in.

John, aged 58, is no stranger to physical challenges - in the past he’s tackled the national three peaks, cycling the 440 miles in between, and also took on a 24 hour triathlon challenge in the Lake District.

But his decision to tackle the Tour gave him a new insight into the tough-as-teak world of professional bikers.

“I decided the time limit of 24 hours was doable but first I had to do some serious training, completing up to 300 miles a week,” said the GP who worked for over 30 years in practices in Page Hall and Greenhill.

“The whole thing made me realise how much I’d hate to be a professional cyclist! Normally if you’re busy with work you look forward to getting out on a bike but the more I trained the more the enjoyment petered out.”

John said the highlight of his challenge was finishing it.

“The first stage was beautiful with two serious climbs, but the second stage becomes increasingly brutal the closer you get to Sheffield, with climb after climb,” he said.

“As for the last stage, while it is the easiest, it was the worst from a psychological aspect as I had to get back on the bike in Cambridge after a car ride in which I’d all stiffened up.”

n Go to to donate to Dr McAvoy’s charity appeal.