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Transcontinental ultra-endurance race postponed until 2022

Fiona Kolbinger is the first female winner of Europe's Transcontinental Race
Fiona Kolbinger, the first female winner of Europe's Transcontinental Race in 2019 (Image credit: Angus Young for the Transcontinental Race)

The Transcontinental Race, a self-supported ultra-endurance event which crosses Europe, has been postponed for a second year as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to create uncertainty over travel across borders.

The eighth edition of the race, where riders clock up thousands of kilometres as they plan their own route through a series of checkpoints, was due to run in 2020 but the global health crises brought the planning to a halt in March. Then in 2021, it had been set to depart from the port city of Brest in France on July 27, and also included Greece and Italy, with the route mapped out to try and minimise border crossings. 

That, however, wasn’t enough to see the race where the clock never stops go ahead as, after consulting with the riders, the organisers of the event, LostDot, decided that the best option was to aim for next year instead. 

“We fully appreciate that postponing the race until 2022 is extremely disappointing for everyone involved, even those who feel it is the correct decision,” said the organisers in a statement. “For those of you who feel this is the wrong decision we sympathise and are extremely sorry to disappoint you.”

The Transcontinental was started in 2013 by leading light for the sport, Mike Hall, who tragically lost his life after being hit by a car in Australia over four years ago and since then his former partner Anna Haslock, supported by friends and race partners, has taken up the mantle.

The statement said there were multiple concerns over running the event with two standing out. One was “the difficulty in delivering a fair and equitable race in 2021 due to some riders requiring tests.”

A mechanism to allow those recovered from COVID-19, with a negative test result or that have been vaccinated easier movement across borders is being worked on by the European Commission, however a rider survey showed that only 40 per cent expected to be fully vaccinated by July 1.

Organisers said the second issue regarded the wisdom of holding the event during a period of uncertainty. 

“The vaccine is proving successful but there remains a significant number of unknowns around new variants. There may be another spike in cases (predicted for July this year) which could change travel restrictions immediately prior/during the race causing problems for riders. We feel the race should be safeguarding our riders as best we can.”

The last edition of the race, in 2019, was won by German doctor Fiona Kolbinger who covered more than 4,000 kilometres as she worked her way from the start in Burgas, Bulgaria to the finish line in Brest. It took Kolbinger 10 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes. 

The new race route and dates for the eighth edition of the Transcontinental will be released in November of 2021. 

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