Friday 28 October 2016

Premier League goalkeeper steps up cruciate knee injury rehab - by cycling London to Paris

Nick Mashiter

Published 26/05/2015 | 08:01

West Brom's England goalkeeper Ben Foster
West Brom's England goalkeeper Ben Foster

Ben Foster is set to step up his recovery from a serious knee injury - by cycling to Paris.

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The West Brom goalkeeper suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in March and is expected to be out until October.

However, he has accepted the challenge of former England and Crystal Palace midfielder Geoff Thomas to raise money for Cure Leukaemia by cycling from London to Paris next month.

Thomas survived leukaemia and played for West Brom's arch rivals Wolves between 1993 and 1997 but has agreed to wear a Baggies shirt during the ride, between June 18 and 22, if Foster raises £50,000.

England keeper Foster, who suffered the injury against Stoke two months ago, said: "Biking is basically my bread and butter at the moment. I do it every day in the gym.

"I've done my cruciate twice before, so I'm no stranger to sitting on a bike in the gym.

"It does get a bit boring now and then so actually going out on my bike keeps me going. It gives you a sense of freedom and is a good way to de-stress. I love it.

"I got the cycling bug about two years ago. You can see me out on a random night, cycling around Stratford in the full gear - lycra, everything.

"But I've never done anything like this before. I have done a couple of 80kms and maybe a 100km, but never 80 miles a day on four successive days.

"Most of the other players have been asking me: what are you thinking?!

"You probably need to like your cycling to understand. When you couple it with the fact it's for a super, worthwhile charity, it was a no-brainer for me to get involved.

"I'm still aiming to be back playing in October. It's been nine weeks since my operation and everything has gone really well.

"I don't feel any pain in my knee and the muscles around it are getting really strong. Training for L2P (London to Paris) is making me push it that bit more."

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, ex-Palace midfielder John Salako and England Under-20 manager Aidy Boothroyd are also cycling the route.

In 2003, a year after ending his career, Thomas was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia, a form of blood cancer, and given just three months to live.

But he has been in remission for 10 years and will cycle to Paris as a warm-up for his main event, 'Le Tour - One Day Ahead', when he will lead a team of amateur cyclists on the 3,300km Tour de France route, 24 hours ahead of the main race.

"What he does, and the lengths he goes to in fundraising, is fantastic," said Foster.

"Cure Leukaemia is such a worthwhile charity. That's what pushes you along during training rides and what will ensure we complete that 500km."

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