OLYMPIC athletes and World Cup winning rugby players have been spotted attempting the Tour de France route.

Taking a breather in Bainbridge, near Hawes, at the weekend were Olympic speed skater Elise Christie, ex-England rugby international Will Greenwood, former cruiser weight boxing champion Johnny Nelson and Sky Sports presenter Sarah-Jane Mee.

The group was attempting the first stage in one day for a Sky Sports documentary, Riding the Dales, which is due to be screened ahead of the Grand Depart next month.

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Mr Nelson was attempting the route hours after commenting on the Carl Froch versus George Groves fight at Wembley.

For Miss Christie, who represented Team GB at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, cycling on this scale was a whole new experience.

“You use the same muscles in cycling as in speed skating but in a very different way. Normally my challenge is over in two and a half minutes so this is something way beyond my experience,” she said.

The athletes were completing the challenge for the Sky Sports documentary, Riding the Dales, covering the whole Tour and due for screening prior to the first stage of the Grand Depart on July 5.

“They are fantastic athletes to attempt this distance over this terrain in just one day,” said Andrew Feeney who is producing the programme with Doug Ferguson.

“The Grand Depart is going to be an amazing event for Yorkshire. It’s difficult to imagine a better showcase for this beautiful part of the world.”