German is first female winner of Europe's Transcontinental Race

BBC Sport reported Tuesday that Germany's Fiona Kolbinger has become the first female winner of Transcontinental Race, a cycling endurance event that covers 4,000km across Europe. 

The 24-year-old cancer researcher "endured thunderstorms, scorching heat and icy rain in the solo race" on her way to beating more than 200 men, according to the BBC. Kolbinger finished the race in 10 days, two hours and 48 minutes, crossing the finish line in Brest, France, Tuesday morning at 7:48 CET.

Kolbinger told the BBC she could have gone even harder.

"I could have slept less," she said.

Great Britain's Ben Davies held off Job Hendrickx for second place overall in a total time of 10 days 13 hours and 10 minutes, 10 hours and 22 minutes slower than Kolbinger.

Kolbinger's victory was not only a first for the Transcontinental Race, it was also the winner's first-ever cycling endurance event, according to the official race website.

"I am so, so, surprised to win," Kolbinger said in a report posted on the race website. "Even now. When I was coming into the race, I thought that maybe I could go for the women's podium, but I never thought I could win the whole race."

Competitors passed through seven or more countries during the race, including Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, France, Italy, Kosovo, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland, depending on their chosen race route. Riders endured temperatures of up to 37 degrees centigrade and as low as four degrees above freezing, according to the race website.

There were four control points for the competitors, each accompanied by a section of obligatory parcours, including gravel roads to high-altitude climbs with steep gradients. Among the obligatory obstacles were Timmelsjoch [2,474m] in the South Tyrol at the border of Italy and Austria, and the Col du Galibier [2,645m], one of the highest paved roads in the French Alps, according to the race website. 

The riders are self-supported and must plan, research and navigate their own course and choose when and where to rest.

The Transcontinental Race was founded in 2013 by the late Mike Hall.


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