Sunshine Coast local and Rio silver medallist Alistair Donahoe is taking part in a virtual Tour de France event to raise much needed funds for Lifeline Australia. Pciture: australiancyclingteam.com
Sunshine Coast local and Rio silver medallist Alistair Donahoe is taking part in a virtual Tour de France event to raise much needed funds for Lifeline Australia. Pciture: australiancyclingteam.com

Paralympian saves lives through virtual Tour de France

A rope swing gone horribly wrong when he was just a teen didn't deter Alistair Donahoe from following his dreams.

The 25-year-old paralympian tore 90 per cent of his tricep and 70 per cent of his bicep on a rope swing in Darwin, NT, when he was just 14.

But the cyclist kept his spirits high and never gave up racing.

"I've been riding my bike in some form or another since I was about 12," he said.

"I was so young when it happened, I just wanted to get on with childhood, so I didn't really let it affect anything."

Donahoe was approached about paracycling in 2013.

He said it was a foreign concept because he only considered his disability an injury.

"When I checked it out, it turned out that I was eligible," he said.

Donahoe represented Australia and came third in his first world championship which put him in the running to go to the Rio Paralympic Games in Brazil in 2016 where he won two silver medals.

"Most of my cycling is able bod, I race with a team up here called ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast and they're based out of the University of the Sunshine Coast," he said

"I step away to the paracycling world championships a few times a year and with the major focus of going and winning gold at Tokyo."

The Rio silver medallist said despite his injury there was nothing he couldn't achieve.

"You just find a way to do everything," he said.

"Like sure, I might be a bit better and I might be able to do more things if it was a full strength arm but I can still ride a bike as fast as I can and you just operate within the parameters you've got."

Donahoe will take part in this year's Fulgaz French Tour 2020 to raise money for Lifeline.

Australians are invited to experience the virtual travel and cycling event from August 28 to September 18.

The event takes place in 21 stages over 23 days and aims to raise $40,000 for Lifeline Australia who have experienced an increased demand during COVID-19.

Participants can use the Fulgaz Virtual Cycling App to virtually ride through Europe in 4K resolution.

Mr Donahoe said he and his paracycling team prepared for Tokyo on the platform by familiarising themselves with the Olympic course.

"It's basically a really cool way for people who are stuck at home or in the office kind of participate in the Tour De France and also raise money for Lifeline which is, to me, a super important charity to get behind," he said.

"They've seen a pretty big surge... in this whole COVID period so it's a great thing to support."

All participants are encouraged to raise at least $39 which can fund one potentially lifesaving phone call.

Registrations close on August 23, cost of entry is $100 and participants will need access to their own bike.

To register visit frenchtour2020.fulgaz.com.

For crisis support phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.