London to Monaco cyclists raise over €270,000 for ocean conservation

Annual event organised by Blue Marine Foundation has now raised over €900,000 in just three years

Last week saw the culmination of seven days of hard cycling, as more than a hundred cyclists finished off the final leg of the London to Monaco ride aimed at raising money for the Blue Marine Foundation. As the exhausted but exalted peloton arrived at the Palace of Monaco, they were greeted by thronging crowds and a delighted Prince Albert II, who congratulated them heartily on their impressive achievements.

This year’s event was the third edition of the London to Monaco initiative and saw hundreds of cyclists traverse eight countries in seven days, passing through various sections of WorldTour racetracks as they went. Participants could choose to take part in as little as one day or as many as the full week and in addition to paying a registration fee, they were also encouraged to enlist friends, family and co-workers to sponsor them, with all money raised going towards the future conservation of our oceans.

In the past two years, the cumulative effort of the cyclists has been successful in raising an incredible €640,000 and this year a further €273,000 was added to the Blue Marine Foundation coffers. Those funds will be instrumental in tackling a number of incentives aimed at safeguarding our seas and oceans for future generations. In particular, the Foundation has earmarked four key projects on Ascension Island and Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as various ventures geared towards encouraging responsible fishing practices around the British Isles.

Alongside amateur cyclists and seasoned pros, there were also a number of celebrity participants in attendance. Chief among these was Thierry Boutsen, who is more usually found behind the wheel of an F1 racing car than atop a bike saddle. In his career, Boutsen won three of 164 Grand Prix contests, made the podium 15 times and racked up an impressive 132 points. Here, he swapped the hand brake for the handlebars and alongside his fellow riders from the Automobile Club of Monaco, helped contribute to the generous final fundraising amount.

The race finished on the day before the Monaco Yacht Show and the sense of elation that the participants must have felt was surely enhanced by the news that the UK government made its biggest pledge to safeguard oceanic territory to date. On the same day that the peloton brought their week-long exploits to a close, environment secretary Michael Gove announced that the government would try to ensure that 30% of the world’s oceans were under protection by 2030.