A YORK cyclist has been selected to ride the opening stage of the Tour de France’s Grand Départ, just hours before some of the sport's legends take on the same course.

Mike Hughes, a licensed property specialist, has raised more than £10,000 over the last three years for charity and has set himself a new fundraising challenge which he says “is going to be very special.”

This year he has pledged to raise £19,000 for Marie Curie, the official charity partner of the Tour de France, by taking part in the Power Peloton ahead of the beginning of the first stage.

The Power Peleton, will see no more than 25 riders take on the first stage of the Tour and the elite group will have their own podium finish, before their cycling heroes cross the line. Each of them will raise a minimum of £19,000 – the cost of funding a Marie Curie Nurse for an entire year.

This is the first time the tour has come to the UK since 2007 and Mike will complete the first stage of the Tour beginning in Leeds, travelling on to Harrogate, York and Sheffield before heading south for the third stage from Cambridge to London.

However this is only the first part of the challenge for the fundraising athlete as he will set off from London for Paris on the 24th July with Marie Curie.

His thrilling journey will come to an end on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees on Sunday 27th July, as he rides down the straight before the thrilling climax of the 2014 Tour de France.

Mike expects this test will be very unique, saying: "My challenges in the past have included cycling to Paris twice, and completing a stage of the Tour de France over the Alps but to start off on the day of the Grand Depart and finish on the morning of the climax of the whole Tour de France in Paris is going to very special. Tough, but very special."