Mattia De Marchi doesn't stop and wins Badlands 2021 in 45h 54m

Road 7 sep. 2021 10:09 Migue A.

In its second edition Badlands has established itself as the most important gravel race in Europe. Its wild course and the characteristics of the race, non stop without assistance, and a spectacular first edition where Lachlan Morton made history, have made Badlands the gravel reference of the moment.

This year the course is 750km with 15000m of positive elevation gain and is supported by SCOTT Spain as a sponsor of the event.

Mattia De Marchi arriving in Capileria as the winner of Badlans 2021. Photo by Jakub Kopecký

Live tracking: Mattia De Marchi wins Badlands 2021 after 1 day and 23 hours cycling without sleep

Fans of ultra-cycling already know that these types of races are not covered on video, but there is a live tracking. Are you a real dotwatcher? The DotWatcher is the name given to the fans who follow these races by following a map with dots where each dot represents the position of each cyclist at all times. Here you can follow Badlands 2021 live and here you have the list with the participants and their Instagram accounts where you can see their posts during the race.

We will still be updating you here with the most important movements of the race: 

45:54:00 1 day and 23 hours of cycling without stopping to sleep at any time was enough for Mattia De Marchi to take the victory of Badlands 2021. As we all suspected, the Italian arrived first at the finish line after leading almost the entire race. But all the alarm bells went off when his tracker stopped about 62km from the finish line and he didn't seem to be making any progress. Later we reported that De Marchi suffered a crash in the town of Murtas and lost his tracker without realising it until much later. This will probably result in a time penalty but it does not jeopardise his victory. Once again Badlands was another incredible victory in which many fans will take time to understand how a rider is capable of cycling almost 2 full days without sleep. By the way, De Marchi stopped for a total of 5 hours, a minimum time that he used to buy food, refill water, eat, go to the toilet and little else.


Mattia De Marchi already at the finish line of Badlands 2021

In second place is Janosch Wintermantel followed closely by Ulrich Bartholmös

35:40:00 Mattia De Marchi took the lead of the race before the first night, and one day later he is still in the same position. Barring any surprises, he will reach the finish line at around 02:00 or 03:00 on Tuesday, 7 September. The Italian still has a few tough kilometres of climbing in the Alpujarra of Granada before he reaches the town of Capileira.


Mattian De Marchi pushing his bike on a stretch of beach in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. Photo by Jakub Kopecký

Swiss rider Janosch Wintermantel remains second and continues to be one of the revelations of this race. It seems unlikely that he will catch Italian De Marchi in the final stretch of the race, but anything is possible. Germany's Ulrich Bartholmös, who is still third, could be expected to attack in the final stretch.

Among the dozens of stories that are being experienced in the race, it is worth highlighting the determination that Alister Brownlee is showing, the two-time Olympic champion continues in the race far from the lead and does not seem willing to give up.
25:09:00 Just over 24 hours since the riders left Granada and former professional cyclist Mattia De Marchi is still leading the race with almost 445km covered after having passed the Gorafe Desert and about to leave the Tabernas Desert, one of the most remote areas of the race. Among the front runners, De Marchi is the only one who has not stopped to sleep or rest beyond the proper time to abstain with food and water to keep riding. Switzerland's Janosch Wintermantel is one of the revelations of this edition so far and remains second along with Germany's Ulrich Bartholmös, both of whom have had at least half an hour's sleep like Kangangi. Kenyan Sule Kangangi, a pioneer and great promoter of cycling in his country, is in 4th place and could enter directly into the fight for victory as the kilometres go by.

Currently in the top 10 are two Spaniards, Arnau Masferrer from Girona and Francisco Montoya from Almeria.

Great Britain's Alister Brownlee managed to make a comeback after mechanical problems on the first day and is currently in 11th position after a four hour rest. The double Olympic champion could make one of the comebacks of the day during the race if he can keep up the pace and the frontrunners are hit by lack of sleep.

12:39:00 After more than 12 hours of racing, the first movements are beginning to be seen before the first night. Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee, now at kilometre 187, has suffered mechanical problems and has lost a lot of time with the race leader. Mattia De Marchi is now at the 250 kilometre mark in the lead, closely followed by Germany's Sebastian Breuer, Switzerland's Janosch Wintermantel and Germany's Ulrich Bartholmös. The differences between the favourites are not significant at the moment and we will have to wait for the first night to start to get better sensations.

Brownlee before having to stop for mechanical problems and losing the lead in the race

From the start, a group of 10-12 riders formed and rode very strongly, 6 of them passing through Gorafe 15 minutes under the record set last year by Lachlan Morton.

In the peloton, the first problems were experienced in the town of Gorafe when they saw that food and drink supplies were scarce in the town after the first riders had taken everything available in the restaurants and supermarkets. 

00:00:00 Start of Badlands 2021 at 08:00 on 5 September 2021. A large start from the Palacio de Congresos in Granada, with the favourites soon taking the lead.

Badlands 2021: Europe's most important ultra-cycling gravel event

On Sunday 5th September Badlands 2021 started, the gravel bikepacking event of reference in Europe starts in the city of Granada and after 750km and 16,000m of accumulated altitude gain in which it crosses the Sierra Nevada, the Deserts of Gorafe and Tabernas, Cabo de Gata and the spectacular and relatively unknown Sierra de Gádor, it finishes in the town of Capileira, in the Alpujarra of Granada.

This is the most popular race of the Transibérica Ultracycling factory, and as usual in this type of "races" the participants do not have any kind of assistance and will have to find for themselves the points where to stock up or stop to rest. The Transibérica team reminds that it is forbidden to ride with other riders or any kind of organised external assistance, so no hotels, stops or mechanical assistance can be planned before the start of the race.

In 2021 Badlands starts with a new record of 250 registered participants, after the organisation itself had to take the decision to leave out almost 200 more in order not to lose the essence of this authentic adventure on wheels.

Favourites to win Badlands 2021

Among this year's 250 participants are Britain's double Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee, Germany's Ulrich Bartholmös, who after his recent success in Transpyrenees and Transiberica is aiming for a historic hat-trick, and France's Sofiane Sehili, the recent winner of the Silk Road Mountain Race just a week ago. But don't lose sight of former professional cyclist Mattia De Marchi, gravel specialist Paul Voss or even Janosch Wintermantel.

Ulrich Bartholmös is a strong favourite for the win



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