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Transcontinental Race: Defending champion Fiona Kolbinger has purse and tracker stolen while sleeping

German ultracyclist carries on, but her dot is missing from the live tracker for now

Fiona Kolbinger, defending champion of the Transcontinental Race, has had her purse and tracker stolen while she was sleeping in Czechia early this morning, organisers have said.

The 27 year old, who works as a surgical resident at the University Hospital in Dresden, was a surprise winner of the seventh edition of the race in 2019 – the last time it was held, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing its cancellation during the past two years – and was the first woman to take victory in it.

> Who is Fiona Kolbinger? The medical student who has become the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race

This year’s race began on Sunday evening in Geraardsbergen, Belgium, and Kolbinger, wearing cap number 1, passed the first checkpoint yesterday afternoon in tenth position in a time of 1 day 17 hours 37 minutes.

She reached Control Point 1 in Krupka, Czechia, close to the border with Germany, a little under five hours behind the first rider across, Ulrich Bartholmoes and had begun heading south towards Control Point 2 at the Passo di Gavia in Italy when she stopped for a rest.

In a series of tweets this morning, organisers of the race revealed that she had been the victim of theft overnight, adding that she had decided to continue to ride on.

As of 1000 BST today Kolbinger’s dot, bearing the number 1, still appeared (in inactive mode) on the race’s live tracker but has since disappeared.

TCR tracker 27 July 0946 BST

As with most other ultracycling races, trackers are used to enable organisers and fans to keep tabs on where riders are in real time.

However, as contributor Jo Burt, who took part in the 2017 Transcontinental Race, points out, “A topic that comes up too often, especially with female riders doing this sort of thing is the tracker showing people where you are; for all its safety upsides for a female cyclist it can have a worrying aspect, in some cases they have asked if they can be disabled when they’re stopped at night.”

Meanwhile, Control Point 1 leader Bartholmoes is one of a trio of riders at the head of the race who are currently on the outskirts of Munich, the other two being Robin Gemperle and Adam Bialek, each having covered nearly 1,500km so far.

The fully unsupported race, in which riders are free to devise their own routes but must pass through four mandatory checkpoints, finishes in Burgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.

Following the Gavia, Control Point 3 is at the Durmitor National Park in Montenegro, while Control Point 4 comes in the Parâng mountains in Romania.

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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capedcrusader | 1 year ago

Must have been returned because it's working now (ie. before she has reached CP2). MAybe it was returned by the locals. 

joe9090 | 1 year ago

Fiona is super inspiring. 

Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

Go Fiona.  I hope that doesnt demoralise her.

She seemed to take a more southerly route to CP1 than some of the other riders...

Steve K replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

I saw the suggestion that she probably has more local knowledge for route planning that bit than many of the other riders.

Secret_squirrel replied to Steve K | 1 year ago

There is a mention of why she chose that route on the latest TCR blog post.  Basically to avoid a big training mountain she hates.  She's regretting it slightly now.

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