Ultra-cyclist Will Vousden has been forced to quit the Transcontinental Race across Europe while in contention for a top ten finish, after discovering a massive crack in his bike frame – five days after colliding with an e-scooter rider in Bavaria.
British rider Vousden, who was the fastest finisher at the 2021 Around Norway bike packing event, was in similarly good form at this week’s Transcontinental, the mammoth self-supported, non-stop bicycle race from one side of Europe to the other, usually covering 4,000km depending on the routes chosen by the riders.
After over six days of gruelling racing, Vousden had reached the third of four checkpoints on the route, at the Durmitor National Park in Montenegro, in eighth place and within touching distance of two other riders.
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However, as the 33-year-old took on the 2,145m high Transalpina Pass in Romania, the site of the fourth and final checkpoint before the finish on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, he noticed a serious issue with his bike.
On the third day of the event, as he rode through Germany, Vousden collided with the rider of an e-scooter. While he was able to carry on near the front of the race, it was only on yesterday’s descent of the Transalpina, five days on from the collision, that he realised the full extent of the damage caused by the crash.
After experiencing a wobble while riding down the mountain at speed, he stopped immediately and discovered that, underneath one of his bag straps, the titanium frame of his Kinesis Tripster ATR was irrevocably cracked, forcing him to withdraw from the event within sight of the finish.
“So that crash I had on day 3 where a motorbike hit me – turns out the bike was *not* okay, my trusty Kinesis Tripster ATR frame is toast, and my TCR is over,” Vousden posted on Instagram.
“The frame had been creaking a bit from day 4 onwards, but I thought it was just the headset bearings not quite seated properly,” he said.
“It had been getting worse today, and as I stated the descent from the first summit of the Transalpina, the bike started wobbling in a very unsettling way.
“I stopped the bike and discovered an open crack running almost the full circumference of the downtube.
“I was extremely lucky to notice it when I did, as one more switchback would have caused the frame to fold in half beneath me.”
He continued: “I’m sad not to have finished the race, but at the same time am happy with my performance and feel I've gained a lifetime of experience in unsupported racing. I have many strategy and equipment tweaks I'm now dying to try out… Until next time!”
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While Vousden waited to be evacuated from a scenic mountain top in Romania, Christoph Strasser was making his way across the Danube river at the head of the race.
This morning the Austrian ultra-racer – the current 24-hour time trial world champion and a six-time winner of the Race Across America – crossed the finish line in Burgas, nine days and 14 hours after setting off from Geraardsbergen, one of Flemish cycling’s holy places.
39-year-old Strasser, taking part in his first ever non-supported endurance event, averaged almost 470km a day during his epic ride across Europe.
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