Photos by Aydin Odyakmaz (@aydinodyakmaz)
Considering that this year’s Tour Divide riders have only been out for about 48 hours, a lot has happened already. The 2022 southbound grand depart in Banff, Alberta, was staggered for the first time, as riders took off in groups to help space things out. Even before that, though, there were reports of broken rear racks, GPX file mishaps, and last-minute tubeless setups—all remedied by the tight knit group of cyclists and bikepackers in Banff.
After the first day, around 15 hours into the race, leaders Sofiane Sehili, Josh Ibbett, and Manu Cattrysse were all riding within a few miles of each other. Their pack was followed by another group, including Jacob Ashton, Adrian Leichti, Jens Van Roost, and Ben Handrich. At that point in the event, the top 13 riders were all within 20 miles of each other as daylight faded to night—100 miles from the US/Canada border and their next major resupply point.
Day two brought the weather. There’s currently an atmospheric river around Ovando, Montana, with lots of rain expected into early next week. Sofiane checked in from Montana on Instagram yesterday, reporting several hours of hike-a-bike before the border crossing due to snow on Cabin Pass. He also shared a photo of Red Meadow Pass covered in snow, a roughly 6-mile (9-kilometre) section that took 2.5 hours to clear. It also appeared that he was in desperate need of sleep, as he decided to serenade his followers with a rendition The Star-Spangled Banner. We’ve seen reports of nasty thick mud, lots of snow, and roads-turned-rivers thanks to the wet spring much of the region has been having. Northbound riders are experiencing vastly different conditions, with temperatures soaring above 100°F (37°C) yesterday and warm weather expected all week.
Last night, Sofiane continued to pull away from the pack. It appears he hasn’t yet taken any significant breaks and likely hasn’t slept at all. Shortly after nightfall, he was nearly 50 miles ahead of second and third place riders Nate Ginzton and Josh Ibbett. Sometime in the early morning, Manu Cattrysse took second place and remains about 55 miles behind Sofianne.
In the women’s field, Alaskan Ana Jager currently has the lead with Belgian Zoe Chauderlot in a close second. Ashley Carelock and singlespeeder Katie Strempke are about 25 miles behind them.
The webcam on the Blackfoot Angler sign in Ovando, Montana is live, with audio after shop closing hours. Who remembers Chris Siestrup’s webcam dance during his 2019 Tour Divide win? Stay tuned for more!
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