Kolbinger becomes first woman to win Transcontinental: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

In her first ultra-endurance race start, 24-year-old German cancer researcher Fiona Kolbinger becomes the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race, the cycling world mourns Bjorg Lambrecht, Ag2r-La Mondiale signs Oliver Naesen’s brother Lawrence Naesen for 2020. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Kolbinger becomes first woman to win Transcontinental

Fiona Kolbinger, a 24-year-old cancer researcher from Germany, is the first woman to win the Transcontinental. She completed a journey of more than 4,000 kilometers from Burgas, Bulgaria, to Brest, France, in 10 days, two hours, and 48 minutes.

As if the victory alone weren’t impressive enough, this year’s Transcontinental was Kolbinger’s first ever appearance in an ultra-endurance race.

“I am so, so, surprised to win,” Kolbinger said after finishing. “Even now. When I was coming into the race I thought that maybe I could go for the women’s podium, but I never thought I could win the whole race.


Kolbinger was one of 265 riders, and one of 40 women, to start the seventh edition of the Transcontinental.

Founded by Mike Hall, who was tragically killed while riding the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in 2017, the Transcontinental has become one of the world’s premier self-supported ultra-endurance bike races, taking participants across Europe. Riders plan their own routes, and according to the event, racers passed through “seven or more countries including Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, France, Italy, Kosovo, Serbia, Slovenia, and Switzerland” on their way to the finish in France’s Brittany region.

Kolbinger took a steady approach to the race, keeping to a very consistent “19 hours on, five hours off” in the first several days of her ride and then cementing her lead in the Alps. Her journey took her over several iconic climbs there, including the Col du Télégraphe, the Col du Galibier, and Alpe d’Huez.

She arrived at the finish in Brest at 7:48am local time.

“I think I could have gone harder,” she said. “I could have slept less.”

Kolbinger finished a little over 10 hours ahead of England’s Ben Davies, who secured second place with a time of 10 days, 13 hours and 10 minutes.

Moving Pictures

As Egan Bernal (Ineos) delivered the Colombia’s long-awaited first ever Tour de France victory last week, his home town of Zipaquirá hosted huge crowds of celebrating fans. Now, a beautiful mural there honors his achievement and the inspiration it has brought to his compatriots.

Speaking of good bike handlers (watch this if you don’t believe Egan Bernal qualifies), Mike Varga’s Best Trick ride at X Games Minneapolis is impressive.


Race Radio

Cycling world mourns Bjorg Lambrecht

The professional peloton is reeling from the loss of Bjorg Lambrecht, who died on Monday at just 22 years old. The promising young Belgian, who rode for Lotto-Soudal, passed away in the hospital after crashing during stage 3 of the Tour of Poland.

Tuesday’s stage 4 at the Tour of Poland was neutralized, with Lotto-Soudal leading the peloton across the line.

The team published a moving farewell on its website.

“Every year, the world of sports is unfortunately shocked by having to say goodbye to – in an unexpected and unreal way – men and women, boys and girls, on their way to chase their dreams,” Lotto-Soudal wrote. “More abrupt is not possible. Again and again, there is the immeasurable and lasting loss of their child, partner, brother and sister. Again and again, the sympathy is overwhelming and heartfelt. And every time, a little later, life around them goes on, except for the mother and father, brother and sister, partner and children.

“All riders and staff of Lotto Soudal would sincerely like to thank everybody for their expressions of sympathy in the usually hard (top-level sports) world. But in the first place, our thoughts go out to the parents, family and friends of Bjorg, who have to endure the greatest burden, a life without Bjorg.”



Ag2r La Mondiale signs Lawrence Naesen

Lawrence Naesen is joining his brother Oliver Naesen at Ag2r La Mondiale. The 26-year-old Belgian, who has ridden with Lotto-Soudal since 2017, will bring his talents to the French team’s Classics squad in 2020.

“I’m going to race wearing the same jersey as my brother, and that’s a dream come true,” Lawrence Naesen said. “It was actually my goal when I turned professional. I am eager to continue my progression in racing the Flandrian classics.”

Tech News

Donnelly’s anticipated wider EMP tire has arrived

Inspired by the Dirty Kanza’s hometown, Emporia, Kansas, Donnelly’s aggressive EMP gravel tire has expanded its width selection to now include 46 and 47 mm with the original EMP width as a 700×38.

The EMP is tubeless ready and also available as a 60 tpi foldable bead. If you’ve followed our guide to picking the best gravel tires and are seeking something wider, then Donnelly may be worth considering.

In case you missed it …


Feature Image: Fiona Kolbinger in the Alps during her Transcontinental ride. Photo: Transcontinental Race/Facebook

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