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Britain's Maria Leijerstram becomes first person to cycle to South Pole

35-year-old from Wales arrived at destination at 1am this morning

Great Britain’s Maria Leijerstram has become the first person to cycle to the South Pole.

At around midnight UK time last night, the 35-year-old from Wales found herself just 4km from her destination.

However, she had to wait for permission to enter the zone around the Pole itself, because a flight was due to depart.

Leijerstram, who used a recumbent ‘fat’ bike for her record attempt, tweeted: “So close I can almost touch the SP!

Can't believe I have almost made it. My experiment worked!”

At around 1am, her nine-day, 400-mile journey over, she added: “First person in the world to cycle the entire way to the South Pole. I peddled [sic] every metre!

“I did it I did it I did it!!!!!!

“Just had a tour of the South Pole station and got my passport stamped- how exciting!”

She concluded: “Now it is time for bed!”

The expedition, which has been two years in the planning, has been filmed by ITV for a documentary that will be screened next month.

Here’s a video from her website that gives you some idea of the scale of the challenge she faced.

Two men, Daniel Burton on a regular fat bike, and Juan Menendez Granados, who is fully unsupported, are also currently cycling towards the South Pole, though even if they make it, Leijerstram will always have the distinction of being the first person to cycle to the Pole.

Which has us wondering here in the office – we can’t think of any major achievement of exploration on this scale in which a woman, rather than a man, has been the first person to do it? We’re happy to be corrected, though.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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