Wymondham naval officer helps with preparations for Tour de France
- Credit: Sgt Paul Morrison Army Photographer
It might not be quite the same as cycling Le Grand Tour – but for Barry Moss, it was pretty close.
The 43-year-old naval officer from Wymondham was picked as one of a handful of people to help organisers prepare for the Yorkshire leg of this year's Tour de France by cycling the 390km route in advance.
It meant the Class Two Warrant Officer, who attended Wymondham High School and joined the Navy aged 16, was one of the lucky few riders who got to cycle the same route as those taking part in the world-famous race, which began in Leeds before weaving its way through the Yorkshire countryside to Harrogate.
However, unlike the sprint finish in Harrogate at the end of the first day of the Tour, the military peloton finished at an unusually leisurely pace.
Mr Moss, who was part of a 70-strong armed forces peloton, said it was a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a part in the Tour de France'.
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He added: 'I've been cycling since I was about five years of age – mum and dad never drove so I went everywhere on my bike.
'I didn't take it seriously until 2007, when I joined the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Cycling Association.
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'It was at that point I thought I was at the required standard to go from cycling for pleasure to competitive cycling.'
He is now the Royal Navy Time Trial secretary and organises three or four cycling events a year, including the Royal Navy Championships.
He said he was 'very excited' to take part in the preparations, which included a series of test exercises ready for the start of Le Grand Depart over the weekend.
Colonel Stuart Williams, chairman of Army Cycling, said: 'We are not here to race, we are here to do an important job for the organisers, the Yorkshire Tour de France hub and to savour just what the professional racing cyclists will endure,'
'For the military cyclists this is a unique opportunity to cycle this challenging route. For some it has been an eye-opener and something to aspire to achieve. For others it has been a personal test of their ability and their fitness.'
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