24hrs since the race began and already so much has happened. Josh Ibbett is out, at the time of writing this 7 riders have scratched from the race. And we have two riders already pulling away from the group to contend for the lead…
Movers & Shakers
Last year’s winner Josh Ibbett (001) was the one to beat, but only 303kms in Josh has had to scratch from the race with a reoccurring back injury. We’ll give you more info on Josh if we get it. Sorry to see Josh go so early.
Kristoff Allegardt (003) is predictably leading the pack, travelling at an incredible average moving pace of 32.6kph (at time of writing). Just behind him is Bernd Paul (015). Bernd raced in Transcontinental 2015 and fifth overall when he had to scratch on the top of Mount Ventoux due to a severe reaction to the sun. Bernd is a very strong and experienced rider, winning Race around Ireland in 2010, 2012 and 2015, so certainly has the calibre to win TCR – he might be one of the only riders willing on the rain!
Not far behind is Alexandre Bourgeonnier (002) – Alex has been cycling for over 15 years and for the last two has had professional coaching, which has definitely paid off given his 2nd place last year. There’s also Bjorn Lenhard (026) who won Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) in 2015, and in exceptional style as he was completely unsupported. Neil Phillips (172) is one half of the pair-category winners from 2015 which he raced with Timothy France. This year he is taking the challenge alone which seems to be working in his favour so far. And just behind Neil is James Hayden (075) who has clearly reflected on last year’s efforts to put in a more consistent performance this year. Not too far behind is Carlos Mazon (060) who last year came 4th overall in Trans Am, and Nelson Trees (080) who's credentials include hand-building a carbon-fibre tandem and riding it with a friend from Shanghai to Paris. Nelson also was in a strong position in 2015 TCR but had to scratch due to injury.
Those who have scratched so far are Michel Sutter (161), Pair team Sebastian Zimmermann and Nebil Abdulgadir (220), Stefano Mantegazza (068), One half of pair team Bruno Le Bras (223) leaving his partner Sylvain Blairon to continue solo, and Dmitry Motylev (160).
A consistent theme from the first day has been people getting lost. Stuart Birnie (142) chose to move away from the peloton towards a ‘West’ route which he quickly regretted:
Franziska Kühne (029) also took a scenic route:
In fact many seem to be sampling the delights of rural France…
The TCR Diet
The famous French cuisine is on offer for the next few days, if only they can find shops and restaurants that are open. Good luck on Sunday riders... They may all have to opt for the 'Gareth Baines Approach' which consists of eating more cheeseburgers in one sitting than is humanly decent, and filling every available space on bike or body with spare cheeseburgers. It doesn't just have to be cheeseburgers though:
Sleep is an essential element to a race performance, some will have opted for no sleep at all for the first 24hrs, some find more regulated sleep is required for them to continue riding. Will riders sleep in a hotel every time, or on the side of the road? A bit of both? Johanna Josten-van Duinkerken (141) seems to have it sussed, perhaps Max Lindberg (211) less so...
For the leaders, they'll reach Check Point 1, Clermont-Ferrand in France's Massif Central this evening. From the city, the riders take a gradual 15km climb to the Col de Ceyssat, just south of the dormant volcano, Puy de Dôme. For many riders though, their second day will be making it through Southern France, attempting to find food, drink and sleep stops, whilst pushing through the miles. We also hear that thunderstorms are predicted for the region, so wet-weather gear may see it's first outing.
Well done to all riders who have made it through the first 24hrs, commiserations to those that haven't, and good luck for the next stage of the ride...