Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service
Winner Shchebelin one of only three to finish Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme.
Former professional cyclist Alexey Shchebelin dug deep on the final stage to win the 2017 Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme race from fellow endurance riders Pierre Bischoff and Marcelo Florentino Soares.
It is the first time in the race’s history that three riders have completed the event, after two riders managed to complete the 2015 edition – even more mind blowing considering they had to maintain an average speed of 21kmh (13mph).
Bischoff crossed the line first in the Russian city of Vladivostok, however Shchebelin was just under four minutes behind to complete a remarkable overall victory margin of three hours, 14 minutes and 35 seconds from German Bischoff with Brazil’s Soares way back in third.
Eight male riders and two female riders started the endurance race on July 18 in Moscow with the field whittled down to the last three over 14 stages, 9,211km and 79,000m of climbs.
Seven time zones and five climatic zones were passed through over the 24 days with winner Shchebelin in the saddle for an astonishing 312 hours 16 minutes and 58 seconds, nearly four times more than the winning time for this year’s Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
The riders needed to take on board between 10,000 and 15,000 calories a day, the equivalent of 50 cheeseburgers, to fuel their legs – an average male ingesting 2,500 calories a day usually.
They also needed to drink seven to 12 litres of fluid, the equivalent of 21 pints, and eight times what a normal person is recommended in any given day.
With the longest stage clocking in at 1,386km, it was an amazing feat for the gutsy trio with race organiser Paul Bruck hailing their supreme effort.
He said: “Thank you heroes for your unbelievable performance. Thanks all supporters, physiotherapists, doctors, kitchen team, drivers, media team and all police and local administrators. See you next year from July 24 2018!”
Cancer survivor Thursday Gervais Dubina was bidding to become the first woman to complete the course, however was forced to drop out before fellow female rider Shangrila Rendon.
Dubina told The New York Times: “If I was mentally stronger I probably would have stayed in longer. I think this game is 90 percent mental, truthfully.”
Rendon, who eventually retired after the sixth stage, added: “I was able to last, kind of survive. It was extreme. It is definitely something I have never experienced.”