Defending Race Across America (RAAM) champion Jure Robic took his fourth solo victory on Tuesday afternoon, becoming the only male rider to win the solo RAAM four times. The Slovenian rolled into Annapolis, Maryland to complete the 3,014-mile course in eight days, 23 hours and 23 minutes, at an average speed of 13.98 miles per hour.
Last year Robic denied three-time winner Wolfgang Fasching a fourth title, but nothing could stop Robic from achieving it this time. Asked how he completed the remarkable feat, he replied simply: “I just sit on my bike, start pedaling, and I am here.” Robic also revealed that he now listens to his support crew 90 percent of the time, and said the toughest point in the race for him was a headwind section through Kansas.
Starting seven minutes behind Gerhard Gulewicz, Robic caught the Austrian on the first long climb. The pair then rode together all the way across California to Congress Arizona, 345 miles into the race. By this point Gulewicz had become badly dehydrated and was dropped by Robic, who never looked back and pulled away from the rest of the field. Gulewicz crashed out of the race in Kayenta, Arizona after 634 miles.
With Robic’s nearest competitor David Haase over 22 hours behind on the road, the four-time champion could afford to shower, relax, eat a celebration dinner with his support crew and enjoy a full night’s sleep before the runner up rolled into the finish.
In the team division, Norwegian squad Byggkjøp/BMC Cycling Team won the title with a new record of five days, nine hours and 56 minutes, beating the old record held by Team Type 1 by five hours, 47 minutes. It was the first RAAM for all eight riders on the team, who collectively averaged 23.20 miles per hour.
“I want to congratulate both Jure Robic and the Byggkjøp/BMC Cycling Team for their record-breaking wins this year,” said RAAM race director Terry Zmrhal. “To see such outstanding races from a champion race veteran like Robic, and then the amazing win from the BMC rookie team makes this a spectacular year.”
The solo women’s division leader is expected to finish the race June 19, with the other solo competitors and teams (two, four, and eight person) completing the race by 5:00 p.m. EDT on June 20.
For complete results, visit Cyclingnews.com.