More Casualties As The World's Toughest Bike Race Takes Its Toll
Of the nine men who rolled over the start line for the WCR Grand Tour in London this past February, five now remain seemingly in contention to make it back to the capital under their own steam. Stephen Phillips called a halt to his record attempt late last week, while Jason Woodhouse decided on Monday morning that discretion might be the greater part of valour, and has now also withdrawn from the race.
With Martin Walker, Kyle Hewitt and Niel Coventry Brown also out, the rate of attrition is beginning to mirror a particularly rough installment of Milan-San Remo.
Clearly, all of these riders are to be commended for their supreme efforts in the face of all sorts of calamities and sundry tough calls. Most have vowed to resume their efforts at some point in the near future. And so to those still out there…
Richard Dunnett has finished the Australian leg of his ride and is hammering on smooth roads through Malaysia. He recently shared some fine new snaps on his Facebook page.
Barring any further unforeseen circumstances, Richard would be a fairly safe bet to make it to London in second place. He’s something over a thousand miles ahead of Simon Hutchinson but that is, as we have seen, a gap that can be trimmed back fairly quickly. If Simon were to have a few consecutive big days in the saddle, say, while over the same period Richard took a few more cake stops than usual, it could be neck and neck gunning for Greenwich in a couple of weeks’ time.
The Irishman is now in the United States, and cracked the 16000 km mark earlier this week. His plan is now to put down another nine thousand riding through America and Canada and then make for home. An alternative scenario could see things tighten up between himself and Sean Conway in the battle for the final podium spot.
Because Sean, too, is motoring along at a good clip. But his back injuries have not fully healed since taking a spill in Arkansas some weeks ago, and have slowed his progress to a degree. And let’s not even start on punctures. The Rule Of Three seemed to go walkabout last Monday when Sean got FOUR flats in two hours. His chosen charity, however, Solar Aid, has on the upside been getting lots of donations lately.
And Stuart Lansdale is moving again! He had been stuck in Bangkok for the past month waiting to take delivery of a new bike frame. But we gather it has finally arrived, and Stuart is calculating a new route based on his new visa restrictions.
Of course, casting his shadow over all of this news is our resident Elephant in the Room, Mike Hall. With around 2000 miles left to complete his ride, he is on a solid footing to be back in London inside of Alan Bate’s current Guinness record time.
It seems that little has come between Mike and his Miles since mid February. His waking hours have been spent almost exclusively in the saddle. When not in the saddle, he has been either refueling, or trying without success to dry his socks in the microwave. A couple of final “centuries” in the States, and Mike will be headed for Lisbon, from where he’ll take the home stretch to London.
Kristina Stoney is currently riding in Morocco. As of later next month, she will no longer be the only female in the WCR peloton, as Juliana Buhring joins the fray for a tilt at the Women’s record for a Circumnavigation of the Earth by bike.