Photos by Jakub Kopecký (@jacob_kopecky)
Among a crowded field of accomplished contenders in this year’s BADLANDS race in southern Spain, 30-year-old Italian rider Mattia de Marchi (@mattia_de_marchi) took home the win, setting an incredible new record on the rugged 750-kilometer (465-mile) course with a time of just 45 hours and 54 minutes (1d:21h:54m). Mattia, a former professional road cyclist, finished several hours ahead of the nearest contenders, Ulrich Bartholmös and Janosch Wintermantel, who finished several hours later. At the time of publishing, the next pack of riders still battling it out at the front of the course is made up of Sule Kangangi, Justinas Leveika, and Sofiane Sehili, with Alistair Brownlee not far behind them.
Mattia broke away from the group of top riders early on in the race, pedaling alone for the majority of the course. He also stopped very little, resting for only one hour and 51 minutes throughout the duration of his ride. This was about half the stoppage time of the other two fastest riders and undoubtedly helped shore up his win.
Mattia’s remarkable performance at the 2021 BADLANDS race surely makes him one to watch in the world of ultra-distance cycling, and it’s quite a departure from his finish in 33rd position at last year’s Atlas Mountain Race in Morocco. Last year’s first-place BADLANDS finisher, Lachlan Morton, finished the ~700-kilometer 2020 version of the course in an equally impressive 43 hours and 30 minutes, though it’s worth noting that there were changes to the course for the 2021 edition of the race, so the records aren’t in contention.
Congratulations also go out to second and third-place finishers. Both from Germany, 35-year-old Ulrich Bartholmös and 34-year-old Janosch Wintermantel finished the race in 49 hours, 23 minutes (2d:1h:23m) and 49 hours, 36 minutes (2d:1h:36m), respectively. These two also had an amazing race, battling it out until the bitter end and finishing just 13 minutes apart. Oddly enough, stoppage time almost directly translated to their finish time, as Janosch’s rest time of 3 hours and 57 minutes was just about 17 minutes more than Ulrich’s. Ulrich’s second-place victory comes following a big win at the Transpyrenees earlier this summer. Congrats to you both!
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