A different sort of fundraiser race has been announced for this weekend: Chris Froome is joining forces with multiple Ashes Series winning cricketer Kevin Pietersen as well as other celebrity friends in a staggered-start event to provide 1,000 bikes to NHS key workers through Wheels for Heroes.

Also confirmed for the battle are Mel C, Olly Murs, Ryan Giggs, Andrew Flintoff, Lee Westwood, Maro Itoje, Steph Houghton, Darren Gough, and Kirsty Gallacher.

“I’m really happy that we’re in a position to be able to provide help to our key workers during this tough period, and what a way to do it,” says Kevin Pietersen. “As well as providing funds to donate 1,000 bikes via Wheels for Heroes, we’re also looking to provide some fun. We’ve got a great bunch of celebrities looking to beat Chris on Sunday. I’m looking forward to providing an upset!” 

“It’s going to be full out effort from me, trying to catch everyone,” Froome told Sky Sports. “It’s definitely an added incentive to make sure that I catch Kevin because I can’t have him winning this event!”

The race will be broadcast across Sky Sports Main Event, Action and Mix, as well as the Sky Sports YouTube channel and Zwift’s YouTube channel, on Sunday 7 June at 7.30pm BST (2.30pm EDT/11.30am PDT). The coverage will be hosted by Laura Woods, Romesh Ranganathan, and Matt Stephens.

The race will be held on Watopia’s Volcano Climb route, with participants gridded at the start based on the results of recent FTP tests each has taken. Chris Froome, professional cyclist for Team Ineos and four-time winner of the Tour de France, will be the last to start, of course, setting off in pursuit of all ahead on board his Wahoo KICKR.

“Kevin actually made the suggestion to do a charity event on Zwift back in April, so I’m really glad we have managed to get this off the ground,” says Froome. “Our NHS workers have been truly inspiring, but with travel restrictions, it’s still difficult for them to travel to and from their place of work. These new bikes will truly make a difference and provide a safe means for our NHS workers to travel safely during COVID-19.”