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
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.