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TCRNo8 Launch

We are excited to announce the eighth edition of the Transcontinental Race

The Transcontinental Race is the definitive self-supported bicycle race across Europe. From the cobbles of Flanders, to the shores of the Black Sea; via rock hewn tunnels, bald mountain tops, navigating pristine asphalt and rock strewn tracks, the Transcontinental will once again cross the European continent in its own unique style: Rider against rider, living by their wits alone, without caravan or entourage guided by personal integrity, mutual respect and a collective commitment to equality. At the sharp end it is a beautifully hard bicycle race, simple in design but complex in execution: Factors of self-reliance, logistics, navigation and judgement burden racers’ minds as well as their physiques. The strongest excel and redefine what we think possible, while many experienced riders target only a finish. It’s no coincidence that the most prepared will succeed.

Race Start

Start: Sunday 24th July 2022 22:00 Parcours: Muur-Kapelmuur, Geraardsbergen, Belgium

The eighth edition of the Transcontinental will start once again on the fabled cobbles of the Muur van Geraardsbergen. The atmosphere created by the people of Geraardsbergen has become part of the Transcontinental legend, the torch-lit climb flanked with cowbell ringing well wishers; the perfect send off for our intrepid riders.

Historically the Muur-Kapelmuur famously featured as the penultimate and decisive climb of the Tour of Flanders or De Ronde. The steep, cobbled ascent shaping many memorable races, creating many ‘Flahute’ legends and thrilling generations of cycling fans. The relatively short climb has an average and maximum incline of 9% and 20% respectively, the cobblestones delivering a variety of challenges depending on the time of year and weather conditions.

Control Point (CP)1
Krupka, Czechia (Czech Republic) Dates: 26th – 28th July 2022
Parcours length: 120 km Highest point: 880 meters / elevation profile 2300 m Distance from the start: 800 km
The longest parcours on this edition of the race will guide riders through the northern edge of the Ore Mountain range that forms the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. Here the route will follow some of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park (Národní park České Švýcarsko) promoted cycling routes. The park is known for beautiful and unique sandstone formations, the most famous of which is the massive Pravčická gate. The area is heavily forested, originally the dominant species was beech however today forests are predominantly Norway spruce.
The route visits the historic town of Děčín on the banks of the river Elbe which was built on the foundations of an ancient settlement at the Elbe Ford, an important trade route. Děčín castle, originally built in the 10th century by the dukes of Bohemia, dominates the river bank on a rocky outcrop. After the second world war Soviet troops occupied the castle throughout the Communist regime only departing in 1991, leaving the castle in a state of disrepair. In 2005 the government completed a restoration of a large part of the castle and opened it as a museum and events venue. The castle features a long and imposing drive leading towards the entrance called the long journey (“Dlouha jizda”).
Control Point 1 lies roughly 800 km from the start in Geraardsbergen and riders will have around 4 days to reach the control location whilst our volunteers are present and the control is operational.

Control Point (CP)2
Passo di Gavia, Italian Alps Dates: 27th – 31st July 2022
Parcours length: 45 km Highest point: 2620 m Distance from CP1: 750 km
The occasional Cima Coppi of the Giro d’Italia, the Passo di Gavia has gained notoriety for unpredictable and challenging weather conditions over the years. Historically the pass was used mainly by Venetian merchants travelling to Bormio and further north to trade. During the First World War the Gavia’s strategic position, like many of the great passes, made it the focal point of intense fighting and the area retains the gravel tracks and fortifications built and used during the conflict.
At the summit lies Lago Bianco and beyond and below that, Lago Nero. Local folklore tells a romantic and dramatic story of two lovers separated by fortune who fled into the mountains to be together and who turned into the two contrasting lakes when their flight was pursued and ultimately thwarted.
The route from the first control point will guide riders some 750 kilometers taking on some challenging and dramatic cycling on their way to the second parcours of the race. CP2 will be open for roughly 4 days.

Control Point (CP)3
Durmitor National Park, Montenegro Dates: 30th July – 5th August 2022
Parcours length: 45 km Highest point: 1900 m Distance from CP2: 1150 km
The race returns to Durmitor National Park in Montenegro for the third Control Point of the race. Repeating the route from Pluzine to Zabljak that was first featured on the fourth edition of the race in 2016. The park is part of the Dinaric Alps and it’s highest peak, Bobotov Kuk, reaches a height of 2,523 meters. The park was designated a World Heritage Site in 1980. The many glacial lakes scattered throughout the region are named Gorske Oči, or “mountain eyes”.
The road climbs steeply from Lake Piva, acute elevations zigzagging through rough hewn rock tunnels before the road opens onto the spectacular landscape of rocky outcrops and high rolling pasture. Riders become miniscule dots on a ribbon of sweeping road that provides the most incredible vantage point for the surrounding views. Those lucky enough to be racing this parcours at sunrise or sunset are in for a treat.
TCRNo4 in 2016 was to be the last race Mike directed to completion. This link to his last race is a poignant and important tether to our friend and founder; the ‘evil genius’.
Riders will navigate the 1150 kilometers from CP2 into Eastern Europe. CP3 will be open for roughly 6 days.
At the summit lies Lago Bianco and beyond and below that, Lago Nero. Local folklore tells a romantic and dramatic story of two lovers separated by fortune who fled into the mountains to be together and who turned into the two contrasting lakes when their flight was pursued and ultimately thwarted.
The route from the first control point will guide riders some 750 kilometers taking on some challenging and dramatic cycling on their way to the second parcours of the race. CP2 will be open for roughly 4 days.

Control Point (CP)4

Drumul Strategic, Transalpina, Romania Dates: 1st – 8th August 2022

Parcours length: 44 km Highest point: 1990 m Distance from CP3: 700 km

The final Control will coax riders into the mysterious romance of Romania’s Parâng mountains, part of the Southern Carpathian sweep of rock that carves across Central and Eastern Europe. With the help of our friend Silviu of Martin Cycling Adventures we have unearthed a little known off-road route, Drumul Strategic, that deviates from the better known asphalt of the Transalpina. The parcours is a challenging mix of gravel and rough, unmanaged track over uneven terrain that will present serious technical challenges in unfavourable weather. Riders will be required to make good decisions and careful risk assessments before attempting this final challenge before the finish on the Black Sea coast. Kit choice, particularly tyre choice, will play an integral part of a rider’s decision making for this section in order to complete their race safely and in good time.

The Transalpina is a historic route originally known as the Poteca Dracului (the Devil’s Path) used by shepherds and their herds. It is thought it was further developed by the Roman legions and finally paved during the second world war, it is now a popular tourist destination for foreign visitors and Romanian holiday makers alike. CP4 will remain open for roughly 8 days.

FINISH
Burgas, Bulgaria
Dates: 2nd – 9th August 2022 Distance from CP4: 700 km Finishers Party: 8th August
This year we return to the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast to finish TCRNo8. The popular coastline stretches from the Romanian Black Sea resorts in the north to Turkey in the south, drawing millions of foreign and local tourists alike. Prior to 1989 the coast was internationally known as the Red Riviera, since the fall of the Iron Curtain its nickname has changed to the Bulgarian Riviera. The Balkan Mountains cross the country reaching the edge of the Black Sea, dividing the coastline at Cape Emine. The two largest cities and main seaports on the Bulgarian Riviera are Varna, located on the northern part of the coast and Burgas, located on the southern coast. Burgas played host to the start of TCRNo7 in 2019 and it will be a popular finish destination for the relaxed welcoming atmosphere and easy travel links to the rest of Europe. The finish is expected to close 16 days from the start of the race.

 

Photo credits: the Transcontinental race, Lost dot, Carlos Mazon and James Robertson.