Cycling students show they are king of the mountains in France

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A team from the William Henry Smith School took to one of the world’s highest mountains for the fastest classroom on Earth.

The Extreme Classroom scheme is the brainchild of adventurer Alan Chambers MBE and is an annual expedition for children aged 11-16 with complex social, behavioural and/or learning difficulties from schools throughout the country who are part of the Engage in their Future organisation.

Hosted by the Rastrick school, the expedition saw 20 students supported by ten mentors from the world of sport cycle around Europe’s highest mountain - Mont Blanc in France.

The tour of Mont Blanc is considered an absolute classic of long distance road bike challenges and takes in three countries over four days with nine major Tour de France climbs, 350 kilometres of cycling and 9,000 miles of ascent.

The students were supported by their individual education leaders and sporting stars including Lewis Moody MBE (former England rugby union captain), Alan Chambers MBE (record breaking Polar Explorer) and Rachael McKenzie (World Thai Kick Boxing Champion).

The pupils who took part came from Bristol, Wales, Wiltshire, St Helens, Yorkshire, Merseyside, Warrington, County Durham, West Sussex and Surrey.

The students and mentors were split into three groups aptly named Hoy, Pendleton and Wiggins, and once all bikes and vehicles had been checked they were on their way. As well as tackling the gruelling climbs, they also took part in white water rafting and enjoyed a game of rugby with Lewis Moody.

After a difficult week cycling, all the groups enjoyed a cable car ride to the top of Mont Blanc then returned to the hotel for a celebratory meal cooked by celebrity chef Anthony Worrell Thompson.