A SOLDIER from Blaina has taken part in the preparations for the Tour de France.

Staff Sergeant Donna Short, 39, was a member of an Armed Forced cycling team that cycled from Harewood House near Leeds to the centre of Sheffield.

She was taking part in Exercise Maillot Jaune (or Exercise Yellow Jersey) to test the course which will be used as part of the world’s most famous cycling race.

Now based at the Defence School of Transport in Leconfield in Humberside, SSgt Short is a former Nantyglo Comprehensive School pupil and has served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

She was a Royal Logistic Corps Road and Time Trial Champion for 2012 and 2013.

She said: “It is the biggest race in the world and when I was asked to actually take part in the testing of the Tour de France route it did not even cross my mind to say ‘no’. Cycling the Tour de France route in Yorkshire is the chance of a lifetime.”

She said training can be difficult to fit in because she has to look after her son during the week but she tends to do two hours every evening.

The Grand Départ 2014 will start today from Leeds to Harrogate.

Tomorrow the race will pass from York to Sheffield and on Monday the final leg of the race in the UK will go from Cambridge to London.