BEFORE he embarked on the Yorkshire route of the Tour de France, leisure cyclist and former rugby player Simon Carroll said the chance to ride the roads which will be used by some of the world's top riders had taken on the same kudos as playing on the pitch at Twickenham.

After two days, a total of more than 250 miles and a long series of painful climbs around Yorkshire's peaks, he conceded that he was unlikely ever to attempt the route again.

But his fundraising attempt had been a success, rolling in half an hour early at the end of day one and finishing only two hours after his own predicted finishing time on day two.

And amazingly, he was back at work today at the family cleaning firm after nothing more than a night's sleep to recover.

The former soldier, 51, said: "It has been the toughest two days of my civilian life. I feel very tired, but elated as well. I watch the Tour de France all the time, but have never ridden the route before. I will know their pain, it is a tough old course on day two."

As well as the miles, Mr Carroll has also clocked up a fundraising total of almost £3,000 which will go to the Marie Curie Cancer Care hospice in Bradford.

That organisation has supported friends with relatives who have needed its help, so he knows the value of the services it provides.

"I am so grateful to the band of supporters I have had all day long on both days, friends and family cheering me along," said Mr Carroll, of Bingley.

"They were there at every stop, giving me tea, coffee sandwiches and even massages, they were very well organised. I don't think I'll be doing it again, he said.

"I have always wanted a challenge in my life. The idea of riding the same roads as professional riders was too much to resist. I used to play rugby and it is to riding like what playing at Twickenham is to rugby," he said.

The race route on day one covered 109 miles, but was preceded by a 12-mile 'roll out' from Leeds, to the start of the course at Harewood and on day two the course covered 125 miles. But day two had ten sections classified as 'climbs' by Tour de France officials compared to three sections on the first day.

To anything but professional riders, many of the inclines not steep enough to register with officials would have seemed a daunting prospect. For example, the route out of Haworth would appear steep to most riders, but is not officially recognised as a 'climb' section.

Mr Carroll's usual cycling involves weekend outings with friends, covering no more than 30 or 40 miles.

Anyone who would like to make a contribution towards his fundraising can still do so via website, where more information about his challenge is also available.