Ten Years of The Transcontinental

In 2013, the late Mike Hall launched the very first edition of The Transcontinental – a single stage, self-supported and self-routed race that would take riders from one side of Europe to another. Ten years later, while bicycle setups have changed exponentially and technology grown more advanced, the spirit of the race remains unchanged. In the year that Apidura also celebrates its tenth birthday, we’ve taken a look back through our shared history.

Reading time: 4 min

 

2013

TCRNo1

Start: Westminster Bridge, London Finish: Istanbul, Turkey
Controls: Muur van Geraardsbergen, Belgium; Passo Stelvio, Italy

Winners: Kristof Allegaert (7 days, 13 hours and 45 minutes), Juliana Buhring (12 days, 5 hours and 31 minutes)

When Mike Hall originally told me about the toughest unsupported race across Europe, the first ever of its kind, I was pretty sure I could take it on. I mean, I had cycled the world, what was a continent?

2014

TCRNo2

Start: Westminster Bridge, London Finish: Istanbul, Turkey
Controls: Cafe Reveil au Matin, Paris, France; Passo Stelvio, Italy; Lovcen, Montenegro

Winners: Kristof Allegaert (7 days, 23 hours, 0 minutes), Pippa Handley (12 days, 4 hours, 44 minutes)

 

For TCRNo2, Kristof Allegaert raced with an early Apidura Backcountry Saddle Pack. Kristof would go on to have a direct influence on design decisions at Apidura for this emerging style of racing, ultimately leading to the launch of our Racing Series.

For TCRNo2, Kristof Allegaert raced with an early Apidura Backcountry Saddle Pack. Kristof would go on to have a direct influence on design decisions at Apidura for this emerging style of racing, ultimately leading to the launch of our Racing Series.

'It’s easier to keep going' he explained to a Flemish news crew, 'than it is to rest and then have to leave again.'

2015

TCRNo3

Start: Geraardsbergen, Belgium Finish: Istanbul, Turkey
Controls: Mont Ventoux, France; Strada dell’Assietta, Italy; Vukovar, Croatia; Lovcen, Montenegro

Winners: Josh Ibbett (9 days, 23 hours, 54 minutes), Jayne Wadsworth (16 days, 12 hours, 5 minutes)

In 2015, the third edition of The Transcontinental started in Geraardsbergen, Belgium for the first time. The TCR start would return to Geraardsbergen many times, regarded widely as the race's spiritual home. This was also the first year Apidura officially started supporting the race.

In 2015, the third edition of The Transcontinental started in Geraardsbergen, Belgium for the first time. The TCR start would return to Geraardsbergen many times, regarded widely as the race's spiritual home. This was also the first year Apidura officially started supporting the race.

2016

TCRNo4

Start: Geraardsbergen, Belgium Finish: Çanakkale, Turkey
Controls: Col de Ceyssat, France; Furkapass, Switzerland; Passo di Giau, Italy; Durmitor Massif, Montenegro

Winners: Kristof Allegaert (8 days, 17 hours, 2 minutes), Emily Chappell (13 days, 10 hours, 28 minutes)

Both Emily Chappell and Kristof Allegaert raced with Apidura packs during TCRNo4 in 2016.

Both Emily Chappell and Kristof Allegaert raced with Apidura packs during TCRNo4 in 2016.

Out here on the road it was all very simple. I had to keep riding. I could do that. And when I couldn’t I would sleep, and I could do that too.

2017

TCRNo5

Start: Geraardsbergen, Belgium Finish: Meteora, Greece
Controls: Schloss Lichtenstein, Germany; Monte Grappa, Italy; High Tatras, Slovakia; Transfăgărășan, Romania

Winners: James Hayden (9 days,  2 hours,  14 minutes), Melissa Prichard (13 days, 2 hours,  29 minutes)

TCRNo5 was the first year the race finished in Meteora - translated from Greek as "suspended in the sky". Meteora returns as a checkpoint for TCRNo9 in 2023 and holds a special place for many TCR riders.

TCRNo5 was the first year the race finished in Meteora - translated from Greek as "suspended in the sky". Meteora returns as a checkpoint for TCRNo9 in 2023 and holds a special place for many TCR riders.

2018

TCRNo6

Start: Geraardsbergen, Belgium Finish: Meteora, Greece
Controls: Bielerhöhe Pass, Austria; Mangart Sedlo, Slovenia; Karkonoszka Pass, Czech Republic; Bjelašnica, Bosnia and Herzegovin

Winners: James Hayden (8 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes), Ede Harrison (13 days, 19 hours, 32 minutes)

2019

TCRNo7

Start: Burgas, Bulgaria Finish: Brest, France
Controls: Budluzdha Monument, Bulgaria; Vranje, Serbia; Pettneu am Arlberg, Austria; L’Alpe d’Huez

Winners: Fiona Kolbinger (10 days, 8 hours, 18 minutes), Ben Davies (10 days, 16 hours, 10 minutes)

Fiona Kolbinger made history by becoming the first female overall winner of TCRNo7 in 2019. Using packs from our Racing Series, Fiona had a direct impact on future packs that were added to Apidura's Racing lineup, including the Racing Long Top Tube Pack.

Fiona Kolbinger made history by becoming the first female overall winner of TCRNo7 in 2019. Using packs from our Racing Series, Fiona had a direct impact on future packs that were added to Apidura's Racing lineup, including the Racing Long Top Tube Pack.

With the notable absence of many comforts cyclists may be used to, Fiona’s bikepacking kit list is ultralight – even compared to other Transcontinental Race competitors.

2020 – 2021

The Transcontinental didn’t run for two years due to the global COVID pandemic

2022

TCRNo8

Start: Geraardsbergen, Belgium Finish: Burgas, Bulgaria
Controls: Krupka, Czech Republic; Passo Gavia, Italy; Durmitor, Montenegro; Transalpina, Romania

Winners: Christoph Strasser (9 days, 15 hours, 0 minutes), Fiona Kolbinger (10 days, 13 hours, 44 mintes)

Christoph Strasser's TCRNo8 race-winning setup showcased the lightweight, waterproof technology of our packs, inspired by the needs of TCR racers through the years.

Christoph Strasser's TCRNo8 race-winning setup showcased the lightweight, waterproof technology of our packs, inspired by the needs of TCR racers through the years.

Christoph delivered a masterclass in pacing, only taking the lead in the race’s final stages and beating his closest competitors to the decisive ferry crossing into Bulgaria.

2023

TCRNo9

Start: Geraardsbergan, Belgium Finish: Thessaloniki, Greece
Controls: Splügen Pass, Switzerland; Zgornju Jezersko, Slovenia; Peshkopi, Albania; Meteora, Greece

Looking ahead to TCRno9, we reached out to Fiona Kolbinger, Kristof Allegaert and race veterans Bjorn Lenhard and Matt Falconer, along with ex-Transcontinental race director Rory Kemper to get their impressions of the TCRNo9 route, which starts on 23rd July.

The placement of the controls seems to indicate that TCRNo9 will be a straight race across Europe, but not without some hefty elevation. While some riders may embrace the climbing, others may choose to make their routes flatter - but longer.

The placement of the controls seems to indicate that TCRNo9 will be a straight race across Europe, but not without some hefty elevation. While some riders may embrace the climbing, others may choose to make their routes flatter - but longer.