Last night Kristof Allegaert (003) arrived at Checkpoint 1 at 21:56pm CET, which means he completed the entire first leg in just under 24hrs. All riders then have to ascent Le col de Ceyssat which is around 15kms distance, and 1 078m steady climb (Starting from around 5-600m). Kristof arrived at the summit at 23:23pm.
Bernd Paul (015), never far behind hit the control point around half an hour after Kristof, and proceeded to the peak arriving just after 12am. Interestingly, Kristof chose to take rest in the town that evening whereas Bernd continued on, giving him the lead on Kristof for a few hours. This leapfrogging will now start to occur through the race as sleep requirements start to kick in, so factor this in to your dot-watching. That said, last year's winner Josh Ibbett had a very low overall sleep to cycle ratio proving to us all that those who snooze, do indeed lose.
Kristof's sleep stop looked to be either incredibly strategic or just a stroke of luck as he missed most of this epic downpour that the rest of the riders had to endure:
Riders came into the checkpoint thick and fast through the night and into the following day, including first woman rider Emily Chappell (007) At the time of writing this 103 riders have checked in so far (See the full list in order here).
Movers & Shakers
James Hayden came into CP1 in 3rd place but immediately told the team that he believes he has a chest-infection, putting an end to his win-bid. James is currently resting up at CP1, with the hope that he can continue racing soon.
Bernd Paul (015) has also been suffering today, with the same sun-induced skin condition that finished his race last year. Bernd unfortunately has had to scratch. Other scratchers from today are Christopher Herbert (182) and James Coleman (153).
Pushing on with the race is Alexandre Bourgeonnier (002) only 60km behind Kristof, closely followed by Carlos Mazon (060), Ultan Coyle (004) and Neil Phillips (172). Behind them is Nelson Trees (080), Bjorn Lenhard (026) and Andy Sallnow (144). And these riders are too, followed closely by a strong tail of riders all pointing in the right direction - Switzerland.
If the riders thought France was tough, they won't know what's hit them with this second stage. Starting in the shadow of the Eiger's North Face at Grindelwald, riders will start the longest parcours of any TCR control to date. They will first climb the Grosse Scheidegg before descending to Innertkirchen and on to Grimselpass. This will lead them to the source of the Rhone river as they climb past the mighty Rhone glacier on elevated roadways clinging to the mountain side to the top of the Furkapass, to reach Check Point 2.
The mountain passes are notoriously difficult, and are always a key element of any Transcontinental race (we can hear Mike Hall's evil chuckle in the distance...). One man who is very familiar with the challenges of TCR is Mikko Mäkipää (044) who is the only rider to have ridden all 4 of the TCR races. He summed up what the race is all about in this amusing clip - make sure you watch it on a desktop with subtitles, it's worth it!
Now 48hrs into the race, most people have had some form of sleep. Here is a diverse range of sleep spots chosen by our riders:
There has also been some interesting sign spotting throughout France:
Eating anything and everything continues to be the theme of the day, we've selected some of the choices on the menu du jour for these ladies. Get it whilst you can riders, the mountains of Switzerland on a national bank holiday will not be fruitful...
"Full Value" Riders
Some riders are getting full use of their race entry by exploring France thoroughly before moving down to CP1. Jesper Sørensen (048) started going North for some time, we believe he caught his Pokemon, and is now thankfully going South again.
Cheng-Hui Hsieh's (092) and the Italian pair team Alberto Varni and Mattia Biffi (228) both took the 'all-over-the-shop' route, we can only assume they were being chased by bees for a short spell.
We'll leave you tonight with a final image, a look at the mountainous range these bold riders are about to tackle in order to get to CP2 & CP3, so many hills so many paths to take, so many opportunities to get totally lost...