Tour de France champion Chris Froome has become the first person ever to cycle under the sea from England to France.
The cycling star, 29, pedalled the 32 miles from Folkestone to Calais in the Eurotunnel.
It is the first time in history anyone has cycled through the tunnel, with Froome completing the crossing at ‘training pace’ in 55 minutes. The Eurostar train takes around 35 minutes to travel through the tunnel, commercial ferry trips take 90 minutes.
At the same time that Froome set-off, a Jaguar Team Sky support car boarded the train to meet him at the other end. They were only waiting 20 minutes for him to arrive
Froome rode his time-trial bike reaching speeds of up to 65 kilometres per hour while cycling 150ft beneath the English Channel.
Froome was not the first person to cross the Channel on a bicycle though. In 1999 Gerand Laurent beat him to that by crossing the English Channel (‘La Manche’ in French) on a so-called Shuttle-Bike, basically a racing bike with floating pontoons added on the side.
Froome said about his historical Eurotunnel ride:
‘Cycling under the sea was an incredible experience. Opportunities to become the first person in the world to achieve these kind of feats are extremely rare nowadays, especially as a pro-cyclist. To become the first person ever to cycle through the Eurotunnel was right up there with some of the most iconic rides I’ve ever done – this must have been one of very few ‘world first’ rides left.’
The ride was organised last month by Jaguar, which provides Team Sky, who Froome cycles for, with a fleet of XF Sportbrakes. Jaguar will be releasing a film, ‘Team Sky – Cycling Under The Sea’, to celebrate the event.
Jaguar and Team Sky began discussions over six months ago with Eurotunnel, which is celebrating its twentieth year in 2014, to make the cycling challenge possible. The service tunnel is one of the highest security sites in the UK and France.
John Keefe, head of public affairs at Eurotunnel, added: ‘The Eurotunnel is an incredible, unique piece of engineering on par with the Golden Gate Bridge or Sydney Opera House.
‘The problem of course, is that no one gets to see it, so we were delighted when Jaguar Land Rover came to us with this ground-breaking request’.
Watch Team Sky Rider Chris Froome time-trial his way from Folkestone to Calais, completing the England-France crossing quicker than commercial ferries