Award-winning Yorkshire chef on road to Tour de France challenge with ex-England football star

A Michelin-starred chef, who was told a suspected spinal tumour may rob him of his ability to walk, is set to take on a mammoth Tour de France challenge.

Simon and Rena Gueller of the Box Tree in Ilkley. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Simon Gueller, executive chef at the acclaimed Box Tree, in Ilkley, will join a team led by former England footballer Geoff Thomas in cycling the entire 3,300km combined routes of the 2015 Tour a day ahead of the pros.

The team is hoping to raise £1million for the Cure Leukaemia charity by cycling all 21 stages inspired by Thomas, who has survived leukaemia, from July 3 to 25.

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Mr Gueller only took up the sport five years ago after recovering from the noncancerous growth on his spine, which led to surgery and rehab.

The 50-year-old, who was inspired to take up the challenge after reading Thomas’ book, said: “It’s surreal that I will be joining him to do the ride this year. I’m training really hard for the challenge, but thinking about the great work delivered by Cure Leukaemia, is great motivation.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary since Thomas completed the length of the 2005 Tour, despite having only gone into remission from leukaemia six months prior. Thomas defied the doctors having been given three months to live in 2003.

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