Over 60 cyclists left Greenwich this morning on the first leg of the Cycle to Cannes charity ride

Cyclists taking part in the fourth Cycle to Cannes charity ride left Greenwich under sunny skies this morning.

Forecast sleet and snow failed to materialise as 64 riders were cheered off by spectators outside the Royal Observatory.

Despite taking place amid a recession over £100,000 is expected to be raised for charity during the 1500km ride. Over £1m will have been generated since the first ride set off for Cannes in 2006.

Today’s leg will take three teams of riders to Folkestone where a Channel Tunnel train will take them to Calais ready for a 300km ride to Reims tomorrow morning.

The riders will be greeted at the MIPIM property conference by Boris Johnson at 2.45pm next Tuesday.

To support the charities and support the riders visit www.cycletocannes.org

Follow riders including team leaders Richard Fenne and Greg Moss on Twitter by searching for #c2c on Twitter.

Riders ready
Around 12 riders have suggested they will ride the whole route including HOK’s Barry Hunt who was one of only two riders to achieve the feat last year.

Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray, associate at Rogers Stirk Harbour, will not be riding the whole route. “Absolutely not – I’ll probably go for just over half the distance. I’m a team leader this year so I can’t just peg it.”

Gray, a veteran of three rides, says one of the biggest challenges is to remember to take on enough food. “It’s easy to forget to eat enough amid all the euphoria. You burn around 2,500 extra calories a day, the equivalent of three meals. There’s not enough time to eat.”

Nick Rees

This is Nick Rees’ first C2C. “There is a feeling of fear as well as excitement. Training has been going well despite the weather though I did crash on an icy lane in and bruised my derriere.”

Despite the training injury Rees is confident of going all the way. “I’m aiming for 100 miles a day – 600 miles in six days.

Simon Birchall

Mace’s Simon Birchall has seen it all before having done the 07 and 08 editions of the ride. He only decided to ride five weeks ago after a chance meeting in Southwark. “I wasn’t going to do it but I bumped into Chris Horn in a café and he persuaded me.”

Birchall has been catching up on his training by going on Sunday rides with his children. “They’ve been keeping me fit,” he says.