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TransContinental race sets out from London for 2,000-mile trek to Istanbul

Kristof Allegaert leads as riders dash toward Stelvio

The 2,000-mile London to Istanbul TransContinental race got underway from Westminster Bridge on Saturday morning as 30 riders lined up to race unsupported across Europe.

You can follow the progress of the riders on Trackleaders.com, as they are all carrying Spot tracking devices that broadcast their location.

At the time of writing, Belgian Kristof Allegaert had made the most progress. It’s hard to say who is officially in the lead as each rider sets his or her own route, but Allegaert has covered substantially more distance than any other rider in the event.


Juliana Buhring (image by Rosie Reed Gold)

Allegaert had covered 941.45km and was not far outside Zurich, on his way to the race’s second checkpoint at the top of the Stelvio pass in Italy.

Richard Dunnett, the runner-up in last year’s round-the-world race, was in nominal second place with 830.21 km covered, and the only woman in the race, female round-the-world record holder Juliana Buhring was in the middle of the pack at 563.68km.


I think we need to go that way... (image by Rosie Reed Gold)

The hot weather in Europe is affecting some riders. Nick Dodd tweeted: “Not only is the distance killer, but the heat is unbearable. 31*C. Tactic change; i'll Ride in the morning before it gets hot. Sleep during the hot day. Carry on in the cool evening.”

Amazingly, riders are finding time for banter via Twitter. After she passed him, Nick Dodd tweeted: “I don't think Juliana wanted to join me for dinner. I guess I'm not your type ;)”

Juliana Buhring replied: “You were charming. The hour wait for food was not. ;)”


TransContinental racers, ready to go (image by Rosie Reed Gold)

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson 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 CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com 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 TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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