Belgium’s Kristof Allegaert is leading Great Britain’s Mike Hall as the pair enter the final 1,000 kilometres of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in Australia.
Behind them, the battle for third place is heating up, with three men looking to catch Sarah Hammond, the leading woman and home rider in the coast-to-coast event.
Ten days into the solo and unsupported 5,300-kilometre race which began in Fremantle on the Pacific Ocean the weekend before last, Allegaert has an advantage over almost 100 kilometres over Hall.
The pair are now heading into the Australian Alps, where Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory meet. After that, they’ll pass through Canberra then will be on the home stretch to the finish outside Sydney Opera House.
Video of them arriving in the Victorian capital Melbourne was posted to the race’s Facebook page. At the time of writing, the tracker on the race’s website shows Allegaert as having ridden 4,392 kilometres, with Hall on 4,303 kilometres.
On Sunday, Hall tweeted a warning to his fellow competitors after being deliberately targeted by a motorist.
> Bike check: Mike Hall’s Kinesis GF Ti ready for Indian Pacific Wheel Race
Hammond, too, has passed through Melbourne and is a little over 100 kilometres behind Hall at 4,197 kilometres.
She is being chased by a trio of male riders, all of whom have passed the 4,000-kilometre mark – Germany’s Kai Edel, fellow Australian Davin Harding, and Kim Raeymaekers of Belgium.
Meanwhile Juliana Buhring, who was forced last week to return to Fremantle last week due to a severe allergic reaction to ibuprofen is now more than 1,100 kilometres into her second attempt at riding across the continent, but has encountered a wretched run of bad luck with punctures.
> Video: Allergic reaction halts Juliana Buhring during Indian Pacific Wheel Race - so she is heading back to start to ride it all again
She wrote on Facebook: “So I've had a string of shit luck with punctures and have consumed all my tubes. The patches I've got don't work well and keep slowly deflating. Basically there's no way I can get across the desert in the condition I'm in now.
“I've reached the Balladonia roadhouse and there's nothing for hundreds of km in either direction so this is just a shout out to see if anyone may be passing this way in the next 12 hours with the very off chance they're carrying tubes that'd fit a standard road bike, you may very well save my ride right now. I badly need a road angel.”
In a subsequent post on Facebook, she revealed that she had found one – and armed too with a can of foam tyre sealant.
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