Day 10 / Low Point, Keep Moving

August 3, 2023

The Transcontinental Race now has its top 10 riders in General Classification, with a flurry of activity at the Finish in Thessaloniki, and a day of trials and tribulations for many still out on the road.

Overcoming his unfortunate scratch in TCRNo8 after his frame cracked in Romania, Will Vousden (119) put his misfortune behind him to finish 4th in the General Classification (GC) yesterday in a time of 9 days, 16 hours, and 2 minutes. Will’s impassioned ride captivated many of us. Fearing he had thrown away his chances of a satisfying placing, Will said it was “a relief to reach the Finish.”

“I am happy with my result, but the main thing was to finish. You get the real feeling of riding from one side of the continent to the other, rather than 80 percent … It is difficult to know [how much my route choice affected my race], but it seemed to balance out in the end … I think the highlight for me was an inner one. After this routing debacle, I managed to quell the thoughts of scratching, I managed to keep going, and managed to keep the discipline you need for a race like this. I managed to turn that around and I am quite proud of that.” Will Vousden (119)

That inner sense of satisfaction and belief in yourself and your own race is what really makes the difference out on the road. Robert Müller (197) grappled with his demons for much of the Race, threatening to scratch several times on his ride from Belgium to Greece. However, the Trans Pyrenees and B-Hard winner held on, finishing behind Will Vousden to claim 5th in GC, completing his longest race to date. He also currently has the quickest time between CP4 and the Finish.

Asked why he did not pull the plug on his first attempt at the Transcontinental, Robert displayed how mentally strong he is: “When I start a race, it’s clear I will only stop when there is a serious issue: if I am sick, if I am injured or my bike is damaged. But otherwise, when it is just a mental problem, I will keep going, no matter how slow I get.”

Realising 10 days is perhaps the limit of his abilities for the time being, Robert said he has learned one week of racing is enough for him, and would likely focus on fixed route races henceforth.

“You need to be much more than a bike rider to win TCR. To win TCR, you have to do so much planning and organisation before the Race … I am not like that. I am more spontaneous. I am just a bike rider. For me, that is good enough.” Robert Müller (197)

Today, we expect to see the first pair – Sherry Cardona (334a) and Gereon Tewes (334b) – arrive at the Apidura-sponsored Finish in Thessaloniki. Storming ahead in the pairs race since day one, the Columbian-German duo will soon add another first place to their palmares – barring any last-minute mishaps!

Hitting the Hay While the Sun Shines

Meanwhile, the race for the fastest woman on the road reached fever pitch yesterday after a dramatic day of racing in which Maria Holdcroft (041) leapfrogged incumbent Jaimi Wilson (004) by foregoing a rest before CP4 in Meteora.

Wrestling with the idea of chasing Maria for the top spot, Jaimi settled into her own rhythm to reach CP4 at 15.03CEST yesterday, two-and-a-half hours behind Maria. Struggling with the building heat, Jaimi sat forlornly at the Control Point for almost two hours, attempting to recharge herself and her devices.

Little did she know, Maria was asleep in a hotel just 50 metres from where she was sat, recovering from her overnight mountain pass and the high temperatures. As time trickled away, Jaimi left, still unaware of her position in the Race. Not long after, Maria set off up the Parcours, snaking her way through the towering sandstone columns in pursuit of her nearest rival.

Low Point, Keep Moving

Continuing to show his resilience in the face of adversity, David Tshcan (050) has reached CP4 and is en route to the Finish after a day which truly tested his willpower. After his hose pipe bodge that we mentioned in a previous report, David reached a town after the third Parcours to buy tubes and have new rim tape applied.

The rim tape wouldn’t hold, though, and continued punctures forced him to walk most of the mountain pass between Parcours 4A and 4B, ultimately hitching a lift to the nearby city of Trikala. Finally fixing his rim tape and with new tubes in hand, David made his way back to where he left the Race the previous night, being passed by five riders going the opposite direction.

Speaking to our Media Team as he made the hot climb back towards Theodoriana, David was dejected. Earlier in the Race, the Swiss rider had been tussling it out for a podium place, but his streak of misfortune had dropped him to around 30th. Taped to his top tube are the words ‘Low Point, Keep Moving’, which, he admits became difficult to follow:

“I was at a point I couldn’t ride anymore … It was a tough decision whether to keep going or not … There was a lot of picking myself up over and over, and you get so tired of that. There have been a lot of low points … I think someone said on the podcast that, if you aren’t going well, at least move. If you have a low point, keep moving.” David Tschan (050)

And keep moving he did. Turning around at the top of Parcours 4B, David reclaimed all the positions he had lost on his way back, arriving at CP4 in 25th. With that resolve, how much higher could he climb?

Every rider is on their own journey across the continent. Regardless of whether a rider is at the front or the back of the Race, at its core is a need to tackle adversity to discover the strength of their resolve and self-belief. As always, this Race rewards the most prepared; the strongest legs will only prevail in the presence of the sharpest wit.

We continue to watch as the CP3 cut-off looms large and the riders continue their journey towards its end on the Aegean coast.

Photos: Saskia Martin, Tomás Montes, Charlotte Gamus, and Tom Gibbs

Words: Ross Brannigan



In the early hours of this morning, TCR rider Maria Holdcroft (041) crashed "in a deep rut on a road" on the coast near Platamonas, Greece. She is currently in hospital, treated and comfortable. Potentially being discharged today, and not having scratched yet, Maria plans to make it to the Finish Line when she is ready. We wish her a speedy recovery.

Scratch Report

061 - Tom Wates
064 - Maciej Tomiczek
079 - Jack Allan Alexander Taube
085 - Hugo Chevalier
109 - David Palmer
210 - Andreas Brantsch
223 - Thomas Dupin

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