Disabled Czech cyclist turns Tour de France forerider

29th May 2013, Comments 0 comments

Disabled Czech cyclist Jiri Jezek, a six-time Paralympic champion, said Wednesday he would appear at a Tour de France time trial as an official forerider to promote Paralympic sport at the top level.

"I have always dreamt of climbing up the time trial ramp in a race as prestigious as the Tour de France," the 38-year-old one-legged cyclist told AFP.

His role is to set the base time for the 11th stage of the 100th Tour de France -- a 33-kilometre (20-mile) time trial between Avranches and Mont-Sant-Michel on July 10.

"I want to show everyone that handicapped people can live an active life and manage tasks they didn't even dream of accomplishing when the accident or disease struck," Jezek said.

The most famous Czech Paralympic sportsman, Jezek started his cycling career in 1994, nine years after he had lost his right leg below the knee in a car crash.

Jezek has won six paralympic gold medals at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 -- where he won the time trial gold.

"I'm very curious to see the difference between myself and the best professionals, whether my handicap will play a role, because the other conditions will be the same for everyone," Jezek said.

© 2013 AFP

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