THREE-time Tour de France green jersey winner and Australian cycling legend Robbie McEwan led a team of 56 cyclists on a gruelling 155km course, ending on the Sunshine Coast today.
Riders taking part in LifeFlight's Tour de Rescue charity bike ride from Brisbane's north side to the Sunshine Coast LifeFlight hangar spent more than eight hours in the saddle yesterday.
The peloton followed a course through the Sunshine Coast hinterland, taking on 1763 metres of climbing, including up the steep Blackall Range.
Damien Mueller, a patient badly injured while mountain-bike riding near Warwick, was back in the saddle today to give back to the service that came to his rescue.
He was airlifted out of a remote section of bush track after a stick caught in his spokes and flipped him into a ditch.
"My bike suddenly stopped and I flipped forward, landing on my head and I knocked myself out cold," said Damien.
Both his hands were broken and he suffered a haematoma on his larynx.
The expertise and care the LifeFlight crew offered him on that day was something he said he would never forget.
"Their whole approach and attitude was great," he said.
"I know they were just doing their job but they were doing their job so well and with a great level of professionalism."
For Mr Mueller, the Tour de Rescue was a perfect way to give back to the lifesaving charity which has just had its second consecutive record year for lifesaving missions.
The end of the financial year marked the charity's busiest year in its 36-year history, with its doctors, community rescue helicopters and Air Ambulance jets performing a record 5,252 missions.
Mr Mueller is one of three past patients who cycled in this year's event, their stories helping to inspire others and helping each cyclist to reach their fundraising target of $1000.
Money raised in the Tour de Rescue will go towards the LifeFlight Foundation.
LifeFlight Foundation chief executive officer Leanne Angel said the money raised in this year's Tour de Rescue would make a true difference to the lives of Queenslanders.
"The LifeFlight Foundation's core purpose is to fund and support the efforts of LifeFlight Australia's aeromedical service which helps almost 5,000 sick or injured Queenslanders each year," she said.
"The money raised in this year's Tour de Rescue will help us continue our mission to give every man, woman and child in Queensland equal access to emergency, lifesaving aeromedical care, at no cost to those we save."
Cyclists will continue their fundraising efforts over the next few weeks. If you would like to donate to the Tour de Rescue please visit: tinyurl.com/LFTDRrego
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