Race report #9 // TCRNo5

Tomorrow the TCRNo5 will host it’s official finishers party at the Divani Hotel in Kalambaka in the shadow of the towering rock formations of Meteora.

photography James Robertson

photography Lian Van Leeuwen

Yesterday, thirteen days after the race started in Geraardsbergen, Belgium, Melissa Pritchard (#233) became the first woman to arrive at the finish of the fifth edition of the Transcontinental Race, TCRNo5. Her final day in the saddle started at 05:30 in the outskirts of Prelip travelling at a good pace throughout the morning and crossing the border at Niki at about 10:00. Her route then took her over the bridge at Lake Kerkini and on towards the beautiful little town of Elati where she stopped for an ice cream. Melissa had a good lead over the next women in the solo field, with Karen Tostee (#228) and Ingeborg Dybdal Oie (#157) approaching Sofia after following a popular route to the east through Bulgaria, and Adventure Syndicate rider Paula Regener further back approaching Nis in Serbia.

photography James Robertson

With roughly 300km left to go Melissa knew she was going to try and make it in one final push. The final climb up towards the finish parcours is a punishing one but she wasn’t surprised knowing Mike’s fondness for making his riders suffer. She made the finish line in thirteen days one hour and twenty nine minutes, her victorious descent only slightly hampered by a slow puncture. 

photography James Robertson

As Melissa was finishing her race Karen and Ingeborg were almost neck and neck as they passed through Kilkis just south of the Macedonia and Greek border. Ingeborg followed her route south while Karen took the E75 west routing them both on opposing sides of the artificial dam Lake Kerkini. Ingeborg’s route in was that bit shorter and flatter route and gave her the edge for the two hour lead making the finish in 13 days 19 hours and 25 minutes.

photography James Robertson

Ingeborg finished only 23 minutes behind our first pair to finish Ian Tosh and Neil Lauder (#264) who had started their final attack at 04:00 at Prilep and crossing the border three hours later at Niki only an hour after Eivind Tandrevold and Anders Syvertsen (#255). They caught their opponents at Xirolimni the gap steadily increasing as they passed Taxiarchis. The crossed the Venetikos river and turned to approach to the final parcours just in front of rider Ingeborg finishing at the hotel after 13 days 19 hours and 8 minutes while Eivind Tandrevold and Anders Syvertsen finished almost exactly 3 hours later after 13 days 21 hours and 5 minutes. 

photography Lian Van Leeuwen

Sina Witte and her partner Victor Decouard (#276) are closing in on the finish line. They followed a route far to the east of the two main corridors via Plovdiv with the Rhodope mountains of southern Bulgaria between them and the Greek border.