TWO hundred cyclists turned up for the once in a lifetime chance to cycle with Chris Froome.

The double Tour de France winner led an impromptu ride from Southampton University to Winchester, setting off just after 3pm on Saturday.

Huge numbers assembled depsite Froome only announcing the ride hours earlier.

But only 30 people managed to keep up with the champion rider until the very end at Winchester Cathedral.

Froome said: “We were down here doing some wind tunnel testing and I need to get a ride in today.

“Participation in cycling has exploded recently and I thought it would be a really good thing to get people on their bikes.

“I didn’t think many would turn up, I was expecting about 20 people and seeing this many people is just incredible.

“This is really exciting and it is a good way to interact with fans.  

Froome posed for dozens of selfies and chatted to members of Sotonia Cycling Club and the university's Road Cycling Club, who helped organise the event.

The happiest biker in the pack was schoolboy Finlay Cousins, who has idolised Froome since he started cycling two years ago.

He and dad David headed straight for the meet from Gosport when they saw it advertised on Twitter.

Daily Echo:

"His dream's come true, really," Mr Cousins said. "He's absolutely obsessed.

"He's got ADHD and dyspraxia - it's just given him a real focus and I think Chris Froome has always been his little inspiration."

Finlay (above), who cycles for Fareham Wheelers, said: "It was amazing. We talked about how skinny my legs are, like his, and how I'm a big fan."

Froome, 30, teased the news on Twitter earlier today with the hashtag #RideWithFroomey.

Dozens of local fans replied in the hope of meeting the Team Sky star, and many got their wish.

Froome was at the university's wind tunnel this morning for Olympic testing, 24 hours after receiving an OBE.

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(Yui Mok/PA wire)

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