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Italian smashes women's round-the-world record

Paola Gianotti recovers from broken vertebra to complete record attempt

The record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by a woman has been smashed by Italian Paola Gianotti who finished a 144-day, 29,430km trip yesterday.

"The best goal of my life!" the 32-year-old announced on her Facebook face after breaking Juliana Buhring's 2012 record of 152 days.

Gianotti set out on March 8 from Ivrea, Italy on her attempt on the record, but was forced to take a break when she was involved in a crash in Arizona that left her with a fractured vertebra.

Paola Gianotti tucks into a small snack on the final leg of her trip, in Italy

That crash on May 18 meant several months at home healing, with doctors warning her that too early a return to the bike could lead to paralysis if her vertebra was not properly fused.

She got back on the road on September 16 and seems to have had no bigger obstacles on the second leg than Australia's notorious magpies.

She arrived home yesterday to a hero's welcome, as you can see in this video:

On her web page, Gianotti says she has always been adventurous, travelling to Swaziland, Venezuela and the Himalayas.

A pre-ride publicity shot

She decided to ride round the world after losing her job.

“Because of the economic crisis, my business closed and I said, ‘It’s now or never’. I rolled up my sleeves and began to plan the adventure,” she told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Unlike Buhring, who rode unaccompanied, Gianotti had a support crew in a camper van. The Guiness Book of Records makes no distinction between supported and unsupported round-the-world record attempts.

Gianotti's route

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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