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BRUNEL SLIPPING AWAY AFTER TOUGH NIGHT FOR DONGFENG.
Just over 300 miles to go and its been a wet, cold and frustrating night for the determined men of Dongfeng as they fight to stay with leg leaders Brunel. A difficult sail change during the night, and some consistently better boatspeed from Brunel in these tight reaching conditions, has put over 7 miles between them, with Mapfre sandwiched in the middle. Brunel are just 4 points (effectively 3 with the tiebreaker in their favour) behind Dongfeng in the overall standings – so Charles and the team simply must find a way to get back to them, and pass them, before the Lisbon finish line.

With the timing of the final approach likely to be in the early hours of the morning, possibly one of the worst times for wind in the bay between Cascais and Lisbon, there could of course be a complete restart. Maybe even sufficient a park up for Abu Dhabi, unusually back in 5th place but closing Alvimedica in 4th, to come back for the final fight too. Either way, the results in this leg are critical for the entire race – they will set the tone for the final two ‘sprint’ legs – will Abu Dhabi remain clear enough ahead to relax (not it seems the mode Ian Walker is in right now!), will Brunel get close to stealing 2nd place from Dongfeng, or will Dongfeng manage to pull off a result right at the front and open up the entire race result?

When boats stop in the calms, remember that it only takes the boat behind doing 18 knots 25 minutes to catch up 7 miles.

Only time will tell. The next 24 hours to be precise.

And until then if you think its simple straight line sailing, think again – "In the middle of the night, on the foredeck of a boat launched at full speed, heeled to 30 degrees and covered by the waves, changing the foresail for the J1 is not what you would spontaneously choose to do”.

It’s taking its toll, the colder conditions and the 24/7 stress of match racing across the Atlantic. “Their faces are tired and their eyes, struggling to stay open. They do their watches, they eat, and they go to sleep.”

News from the boys -

“A 500 miles speed test” (Thomas Rouxel)

“We can expect anything from the arrival in Lisbon, including a restart in the bay” (Charles Caudrelier)

“The manoeuvre to change to the J1 is not what you want to do in the middle of the night” (Martin Strömberg)

“This is the last day and we are all very excited. The rivals are not far away (from us), we are making every efforts to make to boat go faster. Hope we have a chance to pass them at the end.” (Horace).

From Yann:

The last straight line

The guys aren’t really chatty this morning. Their faces are tired and their eyes, struggling to stay open. They do their watches, they eat, and they go to sleep.

It’s that the night has been violent, you see. Lots of reef taken in and out and, most importantly, a sail change from the Fractional to the J1. In the middle of the night, on the foredeck of a boat launched at full speed, heeled to 30 degrees and covered by the waves, changing the foresail for the J1 is not what you would spontaneously choose to do.

A contrast with the other days of this transatlantic crossing that has been rather easy in terms of condition.

Meanwhile, our 500-mile speed test continues. With roughly 350 miles ahead of us. Onboard Dongfeng, we’re talking degrees, true wind angle and azimuth. No more room for comments about the Top 14, the Champion League or the old Figaro sailing souvenirs.

The finish is the unknown. We’ve got to expect everything, including a restart in a wind hole or a coastal race in Lisbon bay. But that’s for tomorrow. #DongFeng   #OutdoorSportChannel   #VolvoOceanRace   #Sailing  
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Renault 3.5 - Stoneman charges to second in Monaco.
#2  Dean Stoneman (GBR - Dams Dallara-Renault)
Qualifying Group B: 3rd –  Race Grid: 5th – Race Result: 2nd
Formula Renault 3.5 Championship position: 4th – 33 points – after 3 of 17 races. DAMS driver Dean Stoneman tore from fifth on the grid to second with a sensational start. He avoided first lap carnage to score a great podium in his Monte Carlo debut. The 24-year-old Briton was thrilled, “It's been a lifelong dream to race here and that's not a bad result for the first time.”

“I knew that going from fifth on the grid I had to do something from the start and while the others were getting tangled up at the first corner I went down the inside, got turned and had a good drive out into second place,” explained the Red Bull Junior who was top Rookie.

Great result

“I realised early after the end of the safety car that I wasn't likely to beat Jaafar to first to be honest. He was setting a good pace and I was going to have trouble getting past. He's no fool and you can be two seconds off the pace here and still defend so I knew it was more about making sure of second. I made sure I didn't over drive the car and the tyres and later in the race just dialled it down a little,” revealed Stoneman who finished 3 seconds behind Jazeman Jaafar and 3 ahead of Tom Dillmann

Fear factor

“The DAMS guys did a great job all week. With free practice I knew that I just had to learn the track and bring the car back with four wheels on it. I'd been in the sim and I knew which way the track went but when it's the real thing the fear factor is a bit different. It is pretty narrow and doing 130, 140mph between the barriers you really feel it.”

“So tenth from Free Practice was OK, it was only 45 minutes and no second session like we normally get with World Series. We knew that it was qualifying that mattered.”

Advice from Infiniti Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo

“Before qualy I had a good chat with Ricciardo, I explained what I was feeling and he translated it into his experiences with the different cars he has driven round here and gave me good tips that I could use.”

“Qualifying could have been better, I put in some good laps but then I made a small mistake and bent a track rod and that induced some understeer so I couldn't go quicker,” explained Stoneman referring to his brush with the wall at Sainte Devote. He had been fastest with 2.5 minutes to go in the session but ended up 3rd in Group B and 5th on the grid.
More to come

“It's great to be on the podium again and we've not made a bad start to the season. The guys gave me a good car again, not perfect but it was my first time here so we now have a better idea what I need, we are learning all the time and I can't wait for Spa.” #DeanStoneman   #OutdoorSportChannel   #Renault   #Monaco   #RedBull  
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Outdoor Sport Channel® available in Sweden, via MagineTV, in the Sports & Action pack SEK39,00 and as a la carte SEK19.00 https://magine.com/se/subscription #MagineTV   #OutdoorSportChannel   #Sweden  
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Mikkelsen heads VW 1-2-3 in Portugal shakedown.
Andreas Mikkelsen was fastest in the shakedown at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on his first competitive outing in Volkswagen Motorsport’s 2015-specification Polo R. The Norwegian headed team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala in a VW 1-2-3. While his colleagues have driven the car since January’s opening round of the season in Monte-Carlo, this is Mikkelsen’s first rally in it.
He was quickest through the 4.63km Paredes test by 1.3sec from Ogier, with Latvala a further 0.5sec back in third.

“I can’t understand why I didn’t get this car earlier!” joked Mikkelsen. “The feeling with it is great. We had a super test and managed to do a lot of kilometres. I was introduced to it last year so I knew what to expect. I really enjoyed this morning.”

Behind the Volkswagen trio, Ott Tänak was fourth in the first indication of the pace of the new Ford Fiesta RS. He was 0.3sec behind Latvala and tied with Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20. Robert Kubica completed the top six in another Fiesta RS.

Mads Østberg survived relatively unscathed after a high-speed roll early in his first run with Citroën’s new-look DS 3. Damage was light and the Norwegian completed two more runs after repairs.

“We ran wide, touched a bank and rolled in the road, landing on our side. It was quite a big crash but no real impact. We asked spectators to put the car back on its wheels, changed a puncture and drove back to service,” explained Østberg.

“There was a misunderstanding in the car and I think I heard the wrong pace note, but I’m unsure. I thought I had a ‘short six left minus’ corner which is flat out. But it was a ‘five left minus’ – which is definitely a corner where you should brake,” he added.

Alén’s Portugal record under threat

The Finn will be in Matosinhos for Vodafone Rally de Portugal, reminiscing over victories in 1975, 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1987 that made him a legend with Portuguese fans. But WRC leader Ogier is hot on his heels following wins in 2010 and 2011, followed by 2013 and 2014 victories.

Alén will have the inside line on Ogier’s record-equalling bid as a guest of Volkswagen at the fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

“I have nothing but fond memories of the Rally Portugal,” said Ogier. “I have won there four times already, including the last two years with Volkswagen.

“I have heard that victory this time would see me draw level with Markku Alén, who holds the record for the most wins in Portugal. That is obviously my goal. We know each other already – he is a great guy and I really respect him.”

Vodafone Rally de Portugal 2015: Top ten Shakedown times

1 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Polo R 3min 11.3sec / 2 Sébastien Ogier Volkswagen Polo R 3min 12.6sec / 3 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Polo R 3min 13.1sec / =4 Ott Tänak Ford Fiesta RS 3min 13.4sec / =4 Dani Sordo Hyundai i20 3min 13.4sec / 6 Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS 3min 13.6sec / 7 Kris Meeke DS 3 3min 14.0sec / 8 Hayden Paddon Hyundai i20 3min 14.3sec / 9 Thierry Neuville Hyundai i20 3min 14.6sec / 10 Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta RS 3min 14.9sec. #RallydePortugal   #OutdoorSportChannel   #SebastienOgier   #Motorsport   #Vodafone   #VodafoneRallydePortugal  
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Portugal Ace Mouton Backs Return To The North.
Michèle Mouton believes the decision to move this week's Vodafone Rally de Portugal (21-24 May) back to the north of the country will help to reignite the nation's passion for its WRC round. 
The gravel event has been held in the southern Algarve region for the last 10 years but it will start from the new host town of Matosinhos, close to Porto, this time around.

Mouton, the only woman so far to win at WRC level, has fond memories of rallying in the north of Portugal as it was the scene of her second WRC triumph in 1982 when she and co-driver Fabrizia Pons guided their Audi Quattro to victory.

“For me, the home of rally in Portugal is the north. And I think it’s the same for the Portuguese,” explained Mouton, who is now the FIA's WRC Manager. “There is a lot of passion for the rally and that’s not what we have seen in the south. The event there was very good but I think the passion for the sport is in the north.

“I’m sure the fans are happy that the rally is back. I have been one of the people pushing the organisers hard to move from the south to the north and to go back to the event’s heritage.”

This week’s rally will be a fresh challenge for all of the WRC crews. The only road that may be familiar to some is a section of the Fafe stage, used for the annual Fafe Rally Sprint – a traditional warm up to the main WRC event.

Mouton said: “These will be new stages for everybody and that will make it exciting. It adds an extra element of uncertainty to the competition. If you don't know the road, it creates more surprises.”

The new rally will be markedly different from the endurance-style event that Mouton won 23 years ago, but she is expecting the enthusiasm from the fans at the side of the stages to be just as passionate – and channeled in a controlled way.

“I hope the drivers will enjoy the stages, and I am sure they will have the support of the spectators – even if today it is impossible to accept the same numbers by the stages. Organisers have worked very hard on spectator safety. They have set up clear areas, and told spectators that the rally's future is up to them,” she said. https://youtu.be/4c8qBt_Cisw
#RallydePortugal   #OutdoorSportChannel   #WRC   #Vodafone   #Audi  
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Max Verstappen races from Pole Position.
After months of planning and preparation Max Verstappen just took his first-ever Soapbox pole position to a whole new level during the Red Bull Soapbox Race in his hometown Valkenburg.
VALKENBURG (Netherlands) He has not won the overall race, but his extensive racing experience and unprecedented grit have resulted in a legendary Soapbox Race for Max. The custom-made soapbox did not fail him once during the course of the race. Its resemblance to Max’ Toro Rosso car, the aerodynamics, its steady grip to the asphalt: it was love at first Soapbox Race. The best part? No pit stops needed whatsoever.

The track, which has been extensively tested by the Mayor of Valkenburg beforehand, presented several challenges to the young athlete. The total track length of 480 meter did not seem to impose a serious threat at first, but the slope percentage of 12 and a total of four major obstacles such as jumps, a chicane, ‘The Dutch Mountains’ and a Flying Finish the Soapbox track proved to be a lot more demanding than expected. Take the other 60 contestants into consideration in addition to this, and the result is a really tough racing field.

Nonetheless, the youngest Formula 1 participant in the history of Soapbox Racing finished this race gloriously and although he admits that Formula 1 is his biggest love, he would consider a career change for Soapbox Racing in a heartbeat.

Safety

Right afterwards Max emphasized that although his Soapbox race felt very spectacular – his safety was never compromised. “I was surrounded by the greatest professionals of the Soapbox scene. They walked me through the entire process and have ensured that no concessions were made when it came to this race.” #Formula1  
#OutdoorSportChannel   #MaxVerstappen   #F1  
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Bonhomme wants revenge in Rovinj as 2015 Red Bull Air Race returns to Croatia. Paul Bonhomme will take a commanding six-point lead in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship into the third stop of the season in Rovinj, Croatia on May 30-31 after hard-fought victories in the first two races of the 2015 season in Abu Dhabi and Japan.  But the British ace is guarding against over confidence because he knows from the past that anything can happen in the world’s fastest motorsport series. 
  
Bonhomme will be looking for revenge in Rovinj after he was beaten by Austria’s Hannes Arch by a heart-breaking narrow margin 0.08 of a second - Arch won in 59.012 seconds with Bonhomme in 59.097. That defeat in Rovinj last year, the narrowest margin of victory ever, sent Bonhomme into a tailspin and he only made it onto the podium in one of the next five races, leaving him third overall in the championship in 2014. 
  
Going into the third race of the season, Bonhomme leads the world championship standings with 24 points, in front of Australia’s Matt Hall with 18 points. Other contenders close behind include defending champion Nigel Lamb (8 points), Germany’s Matthias Dolderer (7 points), Canada’s Pete McLeod (7 points), France’s Nicolas Ivanoff (6 points), Austria’s Hannes Arch (5 points) and red-hot Yoshihide Muroya of Japan (4 points) with six races left.  Dolderer and Arch are again expecting large numbers of fans to come to Rovinj from nearby Austria and Germany. 
  
Bonhomme has 17 career victories but never managed to win three races in a row in a single season. He will nevertheless try to equal the record for three straight race victories in one season set by former double world champion Mike Mangold of the United States at the end of the 2005 season. But with the top eight pilots all flying within a second of each other in the increasingly competitive field at the last race in Chiba, Japan, Team Bonhomme know that they will have their work cut out for them on the racetrack set up in the Adriatic just off the shores of the magnificent Croatian town of Rovinj. 
  
“The most sensible thing to do now is to ignore what’s happened so far this season and treat the next race in Croatia like it’s the first race of the season,” said Bonhomme. “There’s always a risk you’ll sit back on your laurels but we can’t do that because the competition is so tough.” 
  
Unlike in past seasons when there were only two or three pilots challenging for race victories and the championship, the field this year is wide open with eight of the 14 pilots flying fast enough at times to win the race. Muroya of Japan set the track record at home in Chiba. Lamb, Arch, Ivanoff and McLeod all won races last year and could cause problems for Bonhomme in Rovinj while Hall is on fire with two close second place finishes. Dolderer and Muroya also have the speed to win in Croatia. 
  
World Championship Standings: 
1. Paul Bonhomme (GBR) 24 points, 2. Matt Hall (AUS) 18, 3. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 8, 4. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 7, 5. Pete McLeod (CAN) 7, 6. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 6, 7.  Hannes Arch (AUT) 5, 8. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 4, 9. Michael Goulian (USA) 3, 10. Peter Besenyei (HUN) 2, 11. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 2, 12. Juan Velarde (ESP) 0, 13. Martin Sonka (CZE) 0, 14. Francois Le Vot (FRA) 0. 

THE RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. 
Created in 2003, officially the World Championship of air racing since 2005, the Red Bull Air Race is followed by millions of fans worldwide. The fastest motorsport series in the world features 14 of the best race pilots in a pure motor-sport competition that combines speed, precision and skill. Using the fastest, most agile and lightweight racing planes, pilots navigate a low-level aerial track made up of air-filled pylons 25 meters high. New since 2014 is the Challenger Cup, a competition which enables talented pilots to work towards acquiring entry into the Master Class of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. #RedBullAirRace   #OutdoorSportChannel   #Worldchampionship   #RedBull   #Croatia  
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Congratulations. FC Bayern Munich lifted the German championship. Pep Guardiola's Bayern side were crowned German champions for the 25th time after Saturday's 2-0 victory over Mainz. http://bit.ly/Title2305 #FCBayern   #OutdoorSportChannel   #Bundesliga   #FCBayernMunchen   #GermanChampions  
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ECFS - Luua, Estonia. Students from different European forestry and agricultural colleges gathered in Luua, Estonia 20-24 May to take part in the 14th European Championship of Forestry Skills. For the competition, the students are formed into teams of four and tested in various disciplines. First of all, in the forest course, the students have to perform various tasks under the headings of forest surveying, zoology and botany. Then in the second part, in the technical part of the contest, their precision, skill and speed of chain saw handling are measured and assessed in the disciplines of chain fitting, felling, limbing, bucking by combined cut and precision bucking. The winner is determined by the highest score attained during the two parts of the contest.
Overall winner:
1) Julian Schwender (GER)
2) Ranet Sildoja (EST)
3) Guzevicius Tadas (LTU)
Overall Winner Team Competition:
1) Team Germany
2) Team Estonia
3) Team Italy (South Tyrol)   #ECFS   #OutdoorSportChannel   #STIHL   #EuropeanChampionship  
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WORST 24 HOURS OF THE RACE SO FAR. Leg 7: Newport to Lisbon (2,800nm). What: Yesterday was probably the worst 24 hours of the race so far in terms of position loss – at one point from leading most of the way since Newport, the disappointed, but still determined, men of Dongfeng were 35 miles behind Brunel, a huge distance in the current conditions and in this One Design fleet. Fortunately Pascal’s wish for a better day today at least came partly true and overnight things started to get a little better with some of the loss reclaimed. As Brunel suffered from a little less wind in their more southerly position this morning saw MAPFRE seize an opportunity to take the lead and once more, the unpredictability of this race prevails.

Where: Approaching the ice limit at most southern section, which has acted like a mark of the course with all fleet rounding it at same point.

Distance to go: Now under 2000 miles on a direct line – but how will fleet tackle the massive barrier of the Azores Anticyclone ahead of them? About 800 miles to go before arriving near the windless centre of this – which lies EXACTLY on the direct route – so will the fleet take a chance, or try to head north or south?

“Today for us is like the sun. There is no sun.” Pascal with grey skies in the background.

“We don’t like clouds, and obviously, they don’t like us either” Charles

“ I don’t think we deserve this” Charles

“This is a total mess. The wind was coming from everywhere, and now, it does not come at all… Thomas Rouxel.

Imagine you go to sleep and you wake up to find your house has been robbed. You don’t know how, or what you did wrong – all the doors and windows were locked! Your only hope is that you will find a way to recover your losses!

Dongfeng just had quite possibly the worst 24 hours in the whole race to date – losing 35 miles to Brunel, for no obvious tactical reason! A nasty cloud, pinned both Team SCA and Dongfeng firmly to the ocean, whilst the Dutch sailed away towards Lisbon as if nothing had happened. All this in a transition zone, in the Gulf Stream, waiting for a new south westerly breeze to fill in which it has now done – a wind that will take the fleet in a straight line of sorts, around the ice limit and towards the big barrier in front of them – the Azores Anticyclone. As Charles Caudrelier said at the beginning of this leg: “This is a navigators leg."

Its hard to describe the sinking feeling in your heart and mind when you log on to pick up the position report after 6 hours of seeing only your nearest competitors on AIS – to read that you are now 5th, and 35 miles down, to the one team that you are most worried about behind you on the race leaderboard. A Brunel first and Dongfeng 5th, would basically push the Chinese team down one on the leaderboard.

Thankfully the winds of change are upon the fleet and with still 2000 miles to go we know anything can happen. We just have to have faith in the men who to date have proved the impossible possible. #DongFeng   #OutdoorSportChannel   #Sailing   #Brunel   #24hours  
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Renault 3.5 - Stoneman looking for dream debut in Monaco.
For Dean Stoneman, racing at Monaco is simply 'A dream come true.' With those words he is talking for the majority of racers but the 24-year-old Briton wants to do more than that in this week's Formula Renault 3.5 race. “I want to go out and win.”

It's a bold statement with a light touch, for the confident Red Bull Junior Team has an easy way about him coupled with the ability and determination to make anything possible. “I know it will be a steep learning curve,” he said as he prepared for his pre Monaco sim session on Tuesday afternoon. “There isn't a lot of track time and there is a lot to learn so the sim time will be very valuable.”

Street smarts

“As with any street circuit it is easy to make a mistake, out-brake yourself or something and things can go wrong very quickly,” explained the DAMS driver who has street racing experience having driven in the 2010 F2 event in Marrakech where he won Race 1 from pole. His first of six victories on his way to the F2 title.

“Compared to other modern GP circuits everything is different for Monaco, it is more of a squirt and go circuit than high speed corners. The car has to change a lot, the ride height is very different because the track is bumpy, it is set up for medium and low speed traction, stability under braking. There is a lot of camber and camber changes and it is very easy to lock the inside wheel in places, so different to a place like Aragon with its high speed corners.”

Learning to win

“It is all going to be very new and very exciting. I can't wait to get out there and I'm going there with the attitude that I want to win. I know it is a big thing but it would be such an amazing thing to do. I've learnt from my mistakes this year and I aim to go there and do a good job for the team and for Red Bull,” concluded Stoneman who already has a third from his first race of the year at Aragon.

Monaco weekend schedule – all times CET

Friday May 22nd
8:00 - 08:45 Free practice

Saturday May 23rd
09:00 - 09:25 Qualifying (Group A)
09:30 - 09:55 Qualifying (Group B)

Sunday May 24th
11:10 - 11:53 Race (40’ + 1 lap) #F1   #OutdoorSportChannel   #F2   #formula1   #Renault   #RedBullJuniorTeam  
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Seabase Historic Tour de France mountain stage on a fixie.
When in 1910 the organisers of the Tour de France included a mountain stage in the race for the first time, the outcry in the peloton was huge. With 300 kilometres and 6000 vertical metres of climbing over five mountain passes from Bagnères de Luchon to Bayonne, it was a brutal parcours that struck fear into the heart of even the toughest riders of the time. Now, 105 years later, Switzerland’s Patrick Seabase is set to follow in the tyre tracks of those cycling legends by becoming the first athlete to complete this legendary stage … on a fixie.
His challenge of a lifetime starts on 3 June 2015 in the Pyrenees. Fans can follow the adventure in real-time with GPS tracking and a live feed.

ZURICH (Switzerland) - “Vous êtes des assassins!” (“You are murderers!”) gasped Octave Lapize towards Henri Desgranges, the organiser of the Tour de France, as he passed him on the Col d’Aubisque. The race leader had already conquered three Pyrenean mountain passes but had a further 160 kilometres to go to the finish line. In the town of Bayonne, after 14 hours in the saddle, he somehow still found the energy to outsprint his last remaining rival, Italy’s Pierino Albini. Over a century later these early pioneers of cycling have inspired Patrick Seabase to recreate this iconic piece of sporting history. “As well it being a personal challenge, I want to know what those athletes went through during the first mountain stage of the Tour de France – riding over rough roads through the wilderness of the Pyrenees,” comments the rider from the Swiss city of Bern.

The bike: an homage to days gone by

The bicycles used back in 1910 were surprisingly similar to the modern two-wheeler upon which Seabase will attempt his feat of endurance. Seabase will go on his feat of endurance with just a single gear. Lapize and other riders in the early 20th century had two: one for climbs and one for the rest. There were no gears in the modern sense – the only way of “changing gear” was by stopping, getting off and swapping the rear wheel for different one fitted with a larger cog. State-of-the-art road bikes around 1910 weighed between 10 and 13 kilos and were made of steel and wood. Seabase, on the other hand, will make his attempt on a 7.2kg carbon fibre machine. As a cycling purist, the Swiss fixie fanatic will stay true to the brakeless tradition of track bikes. The only way to decelerate is by pedalling more slowly and occasionally sliding the rear wheel into a controlled skid. With no brakes to take the strain, descents are just as tough for Seabase as climbs – and without a doubt more dangerous.“On this bike it is all or nothing. You can’t just change into an easier gear. With the physics so primeval and basic, the mental aspect becomes even more important. You have to be able to block out the pain – that is why I have set myself a series of targets along the route.”

Target 1: Col de Peyresourde

Seabase will set off at 4am on the morning of 3 June 2015 and begin his ascent up the Col de Peyresourde before sunrise. The main challenge will be to find a rhythm and stay relaxed in the knowledge of what is to come. A safe descent in darkness back down the other side of the mountain will signal a successful start to a long day in the saddle.

Target 2: Col d’Aspin

The second pass on the route is the Col d’Aspin. By now the sun will have risen and Seabase should be tapping out a steady rhythm, but it is still far too early to celebrate. Going too hard up the Col d’Aspin could seriously jeopardise the chances of making it through to the end of the stage in Bayonne. This second section is all about staying calm and getting over the mountain without expending too much energy.

Target 3: Col du Tourmalet

With 2000 vertical metres of climbing and two taxing descents in his legs, the 17km ascent up the eastern flank of the Col du Tourmalet will be a brutal rendezvous with reality. “This is the one climb I am worried about,” admits Seabase. If he passes the statue at the summit erected in honour of Octave Lapize, he will almost certainly be the first cyclist since the early days of the Tour de France to do so on a fixed-gear bike.

Target 4: Col d’Aubisque

The climb of the Col d’Aubisque is almost twice as long as that of the Tourmalet. Its changing gradient will make it hard for Seabase to find a rhythm. “These 30km will also be full of mental ups and downs,” he predicts. On this, the penultimate climb, it will be a question of mind over matter and pushing on through the pain.

Target 5: Col d’Osquich

Seabase may have left the giants of the Pyrenees behind him, but he is still only half way – and the second half of the parcours is anything but flat. A series of rolling hills on the ride to Bayonne will sap any remaining energy out of his shattered legs. “I really hope there isn’t a headwind,” he says. With just 290 vertical metres of climbing, the Col d’Osquich is a mere bump in the landscape compared with the passes he has already been over, yet Seabase will be so exhausted by this point that even this seemingly harmless col could push him over the edge.

80 kilometres to the finish

By this time, sunset will be approaching. All in all the final 80 kilometres are downhill, yet there are still quite a few small climbs on the way to Bayonne that add up to around 1000 vertical metres of ascent. These are the roads of cycling legend. With the tank empty and legs drained, it will be all about mental toughness and absolute determination on this final push towards the finishing line in Bayonne near the Basque coastline. If he makes it this far then Patrick Seabase will know something that only very few others do – precisely how those pioneers of cycling would have felt 105 years ago.

Danilo Hondo as directeur sportif

Seabase will be accompanied from start to finish by former German pro cyclist Danilo Hondo, who will act as directeur sportif for the ride. “In the early stages my job will be to stop him from going too hard and using up too much energy which he will need later on in the stage,” explains Hondo. “Later on I will have to help him through those moments when he thinks he simply can’t go on.” As well as Hondo, Seabase will also be followed by a support team and a doctor throughout the ride.

To give you some idea of the challenge Seabase has set himself: completing the ride in 15 hours is equivalent to climbing to the top viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower 110 times in 45 hours (30 kilometres). He will burn the number of calories contained in 50 plates of pasta. The adventure begins on 3 June 2015 and can be followed in real-time on the internet via GPS tracking showing Seabase’s exact location. There will also be a live feed covering the tortuous ride from start to finish. Viewers will be able to track physiological data from the athlete as well as technical information such as current speed, altitude and distance covered, emphasising just how tough the Seabase Challenge really is. #TourdeFrance   #OutdoorSportChannel   #Seabase  
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