The first woman to win a 4,000km cycling race across Europe

Fiona Kolbinger surpassed more than 200 male colleagues, finishing first in the bike race at the Transcontinental Race on 6/8.

Germany won 265 opponents, including 245 male riders, in a 4,000 km long road race, across five European countries. The team starts from Burgas, Bulgaria and ends in Northwestern France. As a rule, riders can choose their own route but have to go through four mandatory checkpoints. They were not asked for directions, had no technical assistance and had to take care of their own food and water.

There were some hilly roads with rugged terrain that required the passing of crabs and the organizers’ supervision. “I have gone through the ultimate challenge. Now I practice the habit of sleeping less every day,” Kolbinger added. The 24-year-old champion is expected to attend many road bike races in the future.

Intercontinental racing competition was born in 2013 with the first leg from London to Istanbul. Six of the past champions were male, of which Kristof Allegaert won first place three times, while James Hayden won twice. Besides the title for the whole champion of the race, the organizers also awarded for outstanding female riders.

Female medical students and the feat of ‘female-to-male winners’

Can women beat men in a sports competition? It was still unthinkable until German medical student Fiona Kolbinger made a miracle at the Transcontinental Cycling Race (transcontinental) 2019.

Transcontinental is a famous super-endurance bicycle race, launched in 2013 and very similar to super marathons.

The race has a total journey of 4,000km, crossing 10 European countries including Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France.

The biggest difference between Transcontinental compared to traditional bicycle tournaments like Tour de France is that the break time is also included in the race. Therefore, the contestants must take advantage of rest as little as possible. The Transcontinental is thus a battle of endurance.

From here, no one thinks that women can surpass men in a race like Transcontinental. For example, in the 2018 tournament, the first female competitor was Ede Harrison – with a record of 13 days 19 hours 32 minutes, slower than the male winner James Hayden (8 days 23:59) for almost 5 days.

But the miracle happened in the race in 2019. The first person to finish was a girl – Fiona Kolbinger with a record of 10 days 2 hours 48 minutes. She surpassed 40 female athletes with more than 200 male athletes.