This year marks the 128th anniversary of the infamous French brevet Paris-Brest-Paris. Starting in 1891 as a 1,200km race, ‘PBP’ is known by many as cycling’s oldest road event – pre-dating even the Tour de France – and has been held roughly every four years since 1931 (give or take a year, including a postponement for WW2).
Taking riders on a self-supported adventure from a small commune just south of Paris to Brest in Brittany, then back again, the event covers 1,200km on its return journey along France’s Atlantic coast. It attracts participants from across the world on bikes of all shapes and sizes, and is so famous in France that it has its own pastry named after it – possibly one of the nation’s highest accolades.
Despite its roots in competitive cycling, PBP is no longer operated as a race. But, in typical French style, trophies and awards are still bestowed upon the first (and last) finishers to cross the line. In 2015, the last edition of the event, Björn Lenhard completed the route in 42 hours and 26 minutes – the fastest time since 1951, which was won by professional cyclist Maurice Diot when PBP was still a race.
This year, we’ll be tracking a small selection of riders live on our map. We’ll also bring you updates from the road, with upwards of 20 participants reporting back on their experiences using a dedicated WhatsApp group, plus the official PBP timings from the control points along the way.
Amongst the participant names will be some familiar dots – including that of Fiona Kolbinger, the astonishingly recent winner of this year’s Transcontinental Race. Having finished first in the TCR in a time of 10 days 2 hours and 48 minutes, Fiona is reportedly riding from Brest to the start town of Rambouillet ahead of PBP.
While there are roughly 6,000 riders taking part in PBP 2019, we hope to offer you a small glimpse into this historic and highly esoteric event through our coverage.
Best of luck and bonne route to all those riding. We can’t wait to watch the dots.
FIND OUT MORE
Our friends at Apidura compiled this all-encompassing article about Paris-Brest-Paris. Take a look ahead of the event that begins on Sunday.