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D5 – A new record!

17.04.2024 - The Sun Trip
The Sun Trip The Sun Trip

DAY 6 <-> DAY 4

In the Sun Trip, we always try to talk about all the participants, from the fastest to the last of the pack, because the project’s DNA is as much about highlighting the performance offered by the development of the solar bike concept, as it is about the human stories told by people who discover their adventures thanks to the solar bike.

But there are days when it’s hard not to put more emphasis on the performances of the leaders, and that’s the case for this Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Firstly, because Jack Butler and Jean-Marc Dubouloz gave us a chase unprecedented in the history of the Sun Trip, from 7 a.m. until nightfall, riding parallel routes for equal lengths of time, like two Vendée Globe boats. They didn’t follow each other, but each took the route best suited to the capabilities of his bike. All day long, the poll proposed to our WhatsApp followers was 50/50 on the question of who would come out on top after this marathon day in central Spain.



Then things changed at the end of the afternoon. Jean-Marc Dubouloz first regained the lead shortly after passing Salamanca, then kept up his frenetic pace, and finally managed to cross the Portuguese border before 8:30 pm, the time when participants must stop their journey. By crossing the border at 7:30 pm (French departure time), he changed time zone and gained an hour’s ride! That’s enough time to drive for another two hours and finally shatter his daily km record set in 2021 during the Sun Trip Europe, clocking up an incredible 475km, for a 13:35km drive at an average speed of 35km/h, all with 100% solar recharging of course! He is thus writing a new page in the history of the Sun Trip, thanks in part to his formidable rival Jack Butler, who achieved 375km in the same day. It’s hard to say whether it will be possible to go faster in the Moroccan deserts, but it’s safe to say that the two men will reach the Atlantic coast on April 17, barring a catastrophe. 5 days to cycle from Lyon to Lisbon, that’s a figure we won’t forget!

Far from it, on either side of the Pyrenees, the majority of the peloton is blocked by the weather! Clouds, rain and even snow at the summit, since Monday it’s been the weather that decides who goes and when. The sun is not expected to return until Friday… There’s no doubt that this weather episode turned the 2024 edition upside down, just as the wind reversal north of the Caspian Sea had tipped the 2018 edition in the direction of China. “It was a wind&rain trip today,” sums up Vincent Lauga (LPO), somewhat dejectedly. “It’s harder than I imagined, every solar watt counts, I never thought I’d be so grateful for just 50 solar watts!” confides Luciano Trumpler. “I’m at the end of my rope, I can’t wait for spring to return!” concludes Jean-Louis Mérelle.

Nevertheless, the group keeps smiling and moving forward, and there are plenty of feats in store here too. How about Vivien Dettwiler’s day… when his battery ran out the day before on the climb to the Col de la Pierre Saint Martin, it took him all day to complete 10 km! “Such a steep climb, in the rain, with a bike made for the sun, it’s a huge challenge!”. But the Swiss rider finally got through, at 5.15pm, followed two hours later by the Belgian duo Géry & Baudouin, who made a super-fast ascent of the pass. Our Belgian friends came back in 4th place ex-aequo, with the added bonus of a good snowman made at the top of the pass.



Race positions at the end of April 16

The two leaders are flying away, but the two Germans Kilian & Jonas are also now in the center of Spain, in 3rd position, lying in ambush to catch the leaders at the slightest problem. There are two teams vying for 4th place.

1. Jean-Marc Dubouloz
2. Jack Butler
3. Kilian & Jonas
4. Vivien Dettwiller
4. Géry & Baudouin

Live Map :

Stories of the day 

Herman Segers: “My compressor with which I was trying to easily inflate my tires wasn’t working properly on the rear tire and soon I got a pump from someone’s bike that I could keep just to help me out. Clean!

Vincent Lauga: “For me it went well with the police, I was measured at 10km/h at the top of a hill and got a smile from the lovely gendarmette!

Luciano Trumpler: “We rode through an airport with abandoned planes, very impressive.”

Vivien Dettwiler: “The top of the pass was so foggy that I didn’t realize until the first few meters of the descent that I’d made it.”

Jean-Louis Mérelle: “Imet an inhabitant of the village of Valentine who knows Bernard Cauquil very well and who put me up! Many thanks to him!”


On the morning :

DAY 6 <-> DAY 4

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