Race report #6 // TCRNo5

Today our Kinesis UK control, CP3 in the High Tatras of Slovakia, closed at 16:00 and we expect our first rider James Hayden to finish in Meteora about 19:00 this evening, 6th August 2017.

photo credit Camille Mcmillan

The Transfăgărășan pass has had rain and the traffic has made life difficult for our media crew so our social media output has been a little quieter than usual. Our race vehicle managed by Jacopo of PEdAL ED left CP4 in the early hours of this morning to catch riders as they headed south through Serbia and Macedonia. The field are, so far, following the same route west as the obvious route through Bulgaria was considered too dangerous. This is making for some particularly interesting racing however: Camille Mcmillan, TCRNo5 lensman, caught Geoffroy Dussault passing Nelson Trees on a long straight. The two have been playing a game of cat and mouse for most of the day. This seems to be becoming something of a tradition for Nelson who was involved in a race within a race with Ultan Coyle last year as they both sprinted toward the finish line in Çanakkale.

photo credit Camille Mcmillan

Another race within a race is being fought for positions 8, 9 and 10.  Robert Carlier #131 is 3km ahead of Stephane Ouaja #012 who is only 2km ahead of Matthew Falconer #154. This race looks set to continue while the leader counts down the final few km to the finish line.

James’s lead is fairly substantial now with a 200km lead on Björn Lenhard. The heat is almost unbearable with reports of 42 degrees or more. James, like many other riders, is trying to cool down and maintain the calorie intake with frequent ice creams. James will be heading towards the final parcours within a few hours and the view awaiting him as he summits the final climb is absolutely breathtaking. His final descent will wind past the monasteries perched on their rocky outcrops, the tarmac is smooth and the sweeping curves a joy. A far cry from the first few editions of this race. 

photo credit Lian van Leeuwen

Heading for CP4 today is Levente Bagoly, he is from Romania and has been steadily making his way through the pack from the middle of the pack at CP1 to the top twenty by CP3.

So far riders who have made it to the Apidura CP4 are as follows: 

1 James Hayden #75

2 Bjorn Lenhard #26

3 Jonas Goy #60

4 Nelson Trees #80

5 Geoffroy Dussault #93

6 Rory McCarron #187

7 Mathias Dalgas #23

8 Robert Carlier #131

9 Stephane Ouaja #12

10 Matthew Falconer #154

photo credit Kristian Pletten

Jacopo reported from CP4 yesterday. “We just met Nelson on the road, he's slept 7 hours in the last three days, but says he's OK and he plans to continue. His goal is to be in the top three finishers. He's on chapter 14 of the Harry Potter books podcast, he found it for free on iTunes and hoped he can finish it before the end.

photo credit Kristian Pletten

Kinesis UK CP3 has now closed and as the main field works it's way towards and past CP3 the a clear favourite on route choices appears. The road from Banká Bystrica over the Low Tatra National Park takes the riders directly into the valley leading to the start of the parcours. The climb over the Low Tatra is nearly 40 km long topping out at 1200 meters. To avoid the Low Tatra Park National Park some riders are heading west along the valley leading toward a town called Martin. It's longer but a lot flatter. Heading towards CP4 riders have found a suitable alternative to the E81 heading further East through Medias for a more direct assault on the parcours. The weekend is always busy in the Transfăgărășan in the summer, with more traffic than usual at the moment as the cable car is closed. Today the weather broke and riders are getting some relief from the relentless heat on the pass but will have to face it again as soon as they hit the lowlands again.