Josh Ibbett has become the first British winner of the Transcontinental race, crossing the finish line in Istanbul tonight about 400 kilometres ahead of his nearest rival, Alexandre Bourgeonnier of France. He completed the near 4,000 kilometre journey in a shade under 10 days - six minutes, to be precise.
The 27-year-old Ibbett, who comes from Brighton, was runner-up last year to Belgium’s Kristof Allegaert, who also won 2013’s inaugural event, with the first two editions starting in London.
This year’s race, which began with 175 riders, started across the Channel at the top of the Muur van Geraardsbergen climb, formerly an iconic feature of the Tour of Flanders, as the clock struck midnight to usher in Saturday 25 July.
Competitors, riding unsupported, could choose their own routes but had to pass through several obligatory checkpoints including another of the sport’s most fabled locations, Mont Ventoux in Provence, plus Italy’s Strada dell’Assietta and the 25 switchbacks to Mount Lovcen National Park in Montenegro.
Ibbett, who spoke to road.cc last month about his desire to win the race, lay second to another British rider, James Hayden, as the race headed into Croatia.
But he overtook his rival as Hayden struggled with a condition, Shermer’s Neck, that can affect some long-distance cyclists and has also inspired a Kickstarter campaign for a bike periscope.
Bourgeonnier moved into second place in Montenegro, but as Sunday turned into Monday was two national borders behind Ibbett, who was in Turkey, while the Frenchman was still to enter Bulgaria.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.