German cyclist, Fiona Kolbinger, has become the first woman to win the 2,500-mile Transcontinental Race, beating her closest competitor by nearly six hours.
Kolbinger, a 24-year-old cancer-researcher from Heidelberg in Germany, established an early lead the other 263 riders were unable to close down.
This year's edition of the single-stage ultra-endurance race began in Bulgaria on 27 July with riders mapping their routes via four mandatory control points. With the clock not stopped between checkpoints, sleep becomes precious and participants often opt for roadside stops in sleeping bags. Kolbinger herself limited sleep stops to an average of just four hours a night before continuing her gruelling ride across Europe.
Finishing with nearly a 200km or six-hour lead over her nearest competitor, Britain's Ben Davies, Kolbinger led the race majestically and after finishing in ten days two hours and 48 minutes said "... I think I could have gone harder".
The Transcontinental Race spans around seven countries and is between 3200-4200km across Europe with the route changing year on year. This year the race began in Burgas, Bulgaria with the finish line in Brest, north-west France.
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Transcon followed her progress closely and described her performance with this:
"Fiona is not the first woman to excel in the world of ultra-endurance cycling, and while having our first female winner is a landmark moment for the Transcontinental Race, it is not the remarkable part of this story.
What is remarkable is that she won the TCR as a rookie, in her first-ever bike race and without ever really breaking a sweat."
James Hayden, last year's winner, tweeted his praise for Kolbinger,
"For years we've waited, knowing it is possible. Finally and with a vengeance, Fiona Kolbinger has arrived @transconrace. I'm rooting for her. Rockstar. What a time for our sport."News Now - Sport News