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Transcontinental Race entries open - with details of checkpoints

Gruelling race is shorter, but tougher this year. Are your legs up to the challenge?

The Fourth Edition of the pan-European cycling event, the Transcontinental Race, will be “for Grimpeurs not Grinders” as this year’s route gets more climbing but a shorter overall distance.

For the next edition, to be held in July 2016 the Transcontinental will get a new finish line and four all new controls.   After the first 3 editions which have shared at least one control between years, all controls will be new for No.4.

A very challenging race in 2015 saw only half the field of 172 riders make it to Istanbul and many of
them  later  than  expected,  next  year  will  see  a  shorter  minimum  achievable  distance  of  the  order of 3,800km (rather than 4,200km this year) but at the cost of more climbing.

The controls’ parcours will keep the riders in the Alps for longer instead of allowing riders a flatter
route  across  Italy’s  Po  Valley  as  in  previous  years.     A  new  finish  line  will  also  see  the  race terminate  outside  of  Istanbul  for  the  first  time.    For  the  third  edition  the  start  moved  away  from  London to start on the Muur van Geraardsbergen, this is now the only location in common between 2015 and 2016.

Race Director Mike Hall said: “The 2015 race was a level harder than the previous races as the attrition rate  showed.    

“While  I  wouldn’t  want  to  make  it  any  harder,  I  wouldn’t  want  to  make  it  any  easier  either.  There will be a lot of climbing in 2016, but the pay off is less busy truck routes”.

CP1 // Puy du Dome, FRA
The  first  control  will  be  the  dormant  volcano  of  the  Massif  Central,  climbed  from  the  city  of Clermont Ferrand.   The traffic free route to the summit will give riders unbroken views across the Massif and an incredible sense of scale in their warm up before a very good dose of the alps.

CP2 // Furkapass, CHE
Control  number  two  will  include  the  longest  Transcontinental  Parcours  to  date,  70km  starting  at Grindelwald in the shadow of the Eiger’s North Face, before climbing again on a mainly traffic free link which follows the Eiger Ultra Trail to Grosse Scheidegg.  From here its not the end, but barely started as riders will connect to dispatch Grimsel Pass, up and over to the base of the Furkapass.  

With  its  unmistakable  galleried  road  elevated  above  the  mountain  side  and  the  hotel  Belvedere perched precariously alongside the Rhone Glacier, the source of the river itself.  Some may know it also as the place where Tilly Masterson took aim at 007 in Goldfinger in 1964.

CP3 // Passo Giau, ITA
The  race  will  stay  high  in  the  mountains  for  Control  3.    The  parcour  will  start  at  the  top  of  the 1918m Passo San Pellegrino and finish on one of the most spectacular passes of the Dolomites.  Passo Giau connects Colle Santa Lucia with Cortina d’Ampezzo and tops out at 2236m under the dramatic peak of Nuvolau
.
CP4 // Durmitor, MNE  
Durmitor  Massif  is  located  in  Northwestern  Montenegro,  close  to  the  border  with  Bosnia  to  the West and Serbia to the North.  The route in and out will be anything but flat, its not called the land of the black mountains for nothing but Montenegro a wonderful country to cycle in. The parcour will take  racers  from  Pluzine  to  Zabljak  and  before  they  enter  the  national  park  they  will  cross  Lake Piva and climb sharply through hairpin tunnels hewn into the rock on unassuming roads  traversing 50km past wooden hiking huts and the twisted strata of the peaks taking in Montenegro’s highest pass at 1907m; Sedlo Pass or as the locals call it, the “Saddle of God” - and finishing up at Zabljak.

Arrive // Canakkale, TUR
The race bids farewell to Istanbul for the fourth edition and finds a slightly calmer finish along the Gallipoli Peninsula to Çanakkale; the closest modern town to the  Ancient City of Troy.  Steeped in history this is another strategic geographical link between the East  and  the  West,  the  city  has  territory  in  both  Europe  and  Asia  and  bridges  the  Dardanelles  at  its  narrowest  point  to  the Antolian  Peninsula.    The  finish  is  marked  by  the  Saat  Kulesi,  a  five  story  Ottoman Clock tower, built in 1897 with the funds from the will of the Italian consul and Çanakkale
merchant Vitalis
.
The Transcontinental is an unsupported race across the European continent.   

It  is  devised  and  directed  by  Mike  Hall,  a  respected  endurance  racer  who  broke  the  record  for  circumnavigating  the  world  in  2012,  Won  the  Tour  Divide  Race  in  2013  and  the  Trans  Am  Bike Race in 2014.

There is no set route, racers must navigate themselves and can choose any legal route but must
visit  a  number  of  mandatory  control  points.    These  are  changed  each  year  and  include  sites  of  significant historic, cultural or cycling interest.

For more information, click here.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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