BASINGSTOKE hospital consultants took on one of the toughest cycling challenges in the world to help raise money for a new north Hampshire cancer treatment centre.

A team of medics who work at the hospital were joined by friends and colleagues as they completed the amateur race stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, July 7.

Orthopaedic surgeons Kevin Conn, Jonathan Hobby, and Toby Briant-Evans, and colleagues anaesthetist Chris Seifert and cardiologist Jason Glover all successfully completed the gruelling 128km ride across France in an average time of just under seven hours.

They negotiated a mammoth 3,000 metres of climbing over six categorised climbs during the challenge.

Kevin said they were all motivated by the thought of the patients the cancer centre will be able to support.

The £13.5million centre, which will be sited near Basingstoke at a location yet to be identified, should be built by 2016.

Kevin said: “For those of us doing the Etape for the first time, it will go down as one of the most memorable occasions in our lives.

“The final 12km climb was the ultimate challenge after cycling for 116km in the heat and many other cyclists were reduced to walking ir sitting down to try and regain some energy.

“It was inspiring for us to keep on going, knowing that our battle would be for an hour but cancer patients’ battles are for weeks and months.

“I was physically exhausted and nauseated when I finished but I knew that I would feel better again in 15 minutes.

“Cancer patients feel awful for weeks and months so the new Ark Cancer Centre will do everything possible to make their treatment more bearable at that difficult time.”

The team has so far raised more than £5,500. To make a donation or find out more about completing another cycling challenge in aid of the Ark Cancer Centre visit or ArkCyclistsEtape2013.