Riders set for France despite ferry strike

Dani King
Dani King
Eugene Scanderfield with landlady of the Hayling Billy  Mandy Mather Picture Ian Hargreaves  (171085-1)

Regulars raise a glass to help support charity

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Organisers of a huge charity bike ride which was supposed to be crossing to France using Brittany Ferries tonight have been frantically changing their plans.

Participants in the Beaune Challenge event were due to depart at 9pm tonight, with hundreds of riders cycling up the ramp onto the ferry after Olympic cyclist Dani King fired the starting pistol.

But a series of wildcat strikes has meant Brittany Ferries has cancelled its sailings to France and Spain via Portsmouth International Port.

Instead, half the cyclists taking part will travel to France via Dover, while the other half will depart on LD Lines from Portsmouth this evening, ending in Le Havre tomorrow morning.

Organisers are scrambling to finalise the logistics of the ride, which was supposed to begin in Caen, and do not yet know if Dani will still be able to make it to start the ride off.

The cyclists are split into four groups and the challenge was to cycle the 500 miles from Caen to Beaune in a relay, and raise around £25,000 along the way.

Meanwhile, Brittany Ferries has announced it has cancelled all its sailings today and tomorrow, but has only cancelled its 4.30pm sailing to Bilbao on Friday.

A spokesman said: ‘Meetings will continue this afternoon at our head office in Roscoff involving the management and French crew unions.

‘As yet, no agreement has been reached which will enable the company to resume services which therefore remain suspended, except the Poole-Cherbourg passenger service, which is operated on Brittany Ferries’ behalf by Condor Ferries.

‘In the meantime we have had to cancel some sailings to and from France and Spain.’

Passengers are advised to see .brittany-ferries.co.uk/routes/sailing-updates for the latest news about the cancelled crossings.