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March 7, 2014 No comments
The World Cycle Race Is Underway!Events Sports Cycling Travel & Adventure Cycling
Fran Hollender, Breifne Earley and Lee Fancourt, this year's London starters of the WCR. We were delighted last Friday to be able to host the pre-launch of the 2014 World Cycle Race at B1866, our Brooks flagship store in London. Competitors and race organizers were on hand to share their thoughts with visiting press and curious public alike on the eve of the event's official start. The inaugural WCR winner Mike Hall had some wise and encouraging words for Fran, Lee and Breifne, the three riders commencing their circumnavigation attempts in the English capital - "Keep moving, you have to be able to live at speed". Lee, Fran and Breifne dropped by to us at B1866 on Friday afternoon. He knows what he's talking about, of course, and spelled out the tall order in no uncertain terms. An Imperial double century each day for any man with his eye on a new Guinness record. Step forward, Lee Fancourt! A seasoned endurance athlete, Lee has his sights firmly set on taking Alan Bates' crown. The former amateur boxer is on the record as saying "Winning the WCR and setting a new world record is the only option for me". You have been warned. Fran Hollender is the only female taking part this year, but she'll also be looking to maintain a similar pace if she wants to crack the time Juliana Buhring set in 2012. The Munich native (and only rider racing solo in this year's race) explained to us that she has been in regular contact with Juliana over the past months, most recently on a series of training spins when she visited the current women's record holder in Naples. Irishman Breifne Earley rounded out our group of WCR visitors to B1866. His participation in the race helps Breifne tick off another item on his Challenge Ten list, and he hopes it will also raise public awareness of the excellent work done by suicide prevention groups, among them Cycle Against Suicide. "One lump or two?" - "You mean sugar or ice?" Along with the Race Crew, Press and riders we had also invited our good friends from Hendrick's Gin, who charmingly served drinks Speakeasy-style from a teapot. Shoplifters will be prosecuted. As the gin flowed, Lee Fancourt kindly stood guard over our saddles. So with one last minute withdrawal and another rider, Prasad Erande, starting from Bangkok, it was the intrepid trio of Fran, Lee and Breifne setting off from Greenwich Park at 12 noon the following day. The Brooks alarm clock was set for early Saturday morning as we joined them a few hours beforehand at Marble Arch on an escorted warm-up spin across town to the start line. A host of cycling luminaries and sundry well wishers were out in force to send the trio on their merry way. Commissioner for Road Safety Education at Westminster City Council Peter Wilson was there, with a pedal powered smoothie mixer in tow, as was Kristof Allegaert. 2013's Transcontinental winner Kristof was along to say hello at the start line. Kristof, you may recall, was the winner of last year's Transcontinental Race, impressively managing the stretch between London and Istanbul without support in about a week. At any rate, he took the short spin over to Greenwich from, ahem, Lille, bade them all good luck, then promptly turned around and rode back again. It will require endurance chops like these to win the 2014 WCR. Meanwhile, all four riders have taken Mike Hall's advice to heart and kept moving since Saturday. To find out how quickly and in which direction, you can join us throughout the event's duration at the Brooks Blog for regular progress updates.