• Fiona Kolbinger (Transcontinental Race)Source: Transcontinental Race
SBS Cycling Central

7 Aug 2019 - 10:36 AM  UPDATED 7 Aug 2019 - 10:41 AM

The seventh edition of the Transcontinental Race was won by 24 year old German cancer researcher, Fiona Kolbinger at 7:48am CET on Tuesday 6th of August 2019. She travelled over 4000km from Burgas, Bulgaria to the finish line at Brest in Brittany, in northwest France in just 10 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes.

“I am so, so, surprised to win," said Kolbinger at the finish in Brest. "Even now. When I was coming into the race I thought that maybe I could go for the women’s podium, but I never thought I could win the whole race.

Remarkably the first-time endurance rider was already looking at ways she could have completed the course even faster.

"I think I could have gone harder. I could have slept less.”

Transcontinental race riders follow strict rules throughout the event, which sees them through seven or more countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, France, Italy, Kosovo, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Racers were allowed to choose their own route but had to pass through four control points, taking them over varied terrain that included gravel tracks and tough Alpine climbs, such as the climb of the Timmelsjoch pass at an altitude of 2,474m in the South Tyrol at the border between Italy and Austria, as well as the famed mountain pass of the Col du Galibier at 2,645m.

Cyclists are not allowed to ask anybody the way or receive technical support from anyone else, and must find their own food and accommodation. Kolbinger herself slept in  'bivvy bag' - a lightweight swag to provide an Australian equivalent - by the side of the road most nights to save time. 

Kolbinger slept on average four hours a night for the ten days she was on the road, averaging just a bit under 400 kilometres a day over the testing terrain. She finished in the early hours of the morning in Brest, over 10 hours ahead of her nearest competitor, Ben Davies.