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D1 – A day of departure!

12.04.2024 - The Sun Trip
The Sun Trip The Sun Trip


We were dreading the spring rain, but what we got was early summer sunshine! Smiles were the order of the day for the start of the Sun Trip 2024, organized for the first time from the headquarters of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, a long-standing partner of the Sun Trip.

The starting solar bikes, plus a few former participants who came as visitors, were initially on display in the giant hall, to carry the Sun Trip colors high, with guests registered for the event.

On site, the emotion of the participants was palpable, and some had reddened eyes. ” Proud ” for Richard Defay, ” Heart beating at 150 ” for Patrice Plozner, ” Euphoria, enthusiasm, optimism ” for Michael Polak, ” The start event was extraordinary, it was really nice to have all the participants together before the start ” according to Jack Butler.

Then came the departure ceremony, in a new format, in the presence of our partners: Fatima Baroudi, Consul General of the Kingdom of Morocco in Lyon, Mr. Li, Consul General of China in Lyon, Philippe Meunier, Vice-President of the Region in charge of international relations, Michel Camoz, elected representative of Chambéry, and Delphine Noël, communications manager for EDF in the AURA region.

A fantastic opportunity to show the power of solar cycling and the Sun Trip’s ability to be heard all over the planet!

In the end, 18 riders took the start. As announced, Raf Van Hulle did not take the start, but was present in Lyon, and Romanian Lucaci Arnold Vasile arrived in Lyon after the start and was disqualified by the adventure jury. See the press release here.

Then, buoyed by the sun and a strong tailwind, everyone took to the road to the Rhone Valley (the flattest), already putting in some great performances! The leaders did over 250 in a single afternoon! At that rate, they could have beaten the daily record if we’d set off early in the morning. “There was a huge tailwind of 25 to 35 km per hour. The whole way. That’s a very big advantage for me over the velomobile. It takes away some of its aerodynamic advantage. What’s more, everyone had full batteries and sunshine. Another advantage for me“, analyzed Jack Butler, 2nd at the end of the day.

But there’s still a long way to go, and all the participants already have Checkpoint 1 in mind, with the weather forecast to get even more complicated for those who won’t have crossed the Pyrenees before mid-day Monday. ” Arrival at La Pierre Saint Martin on Sunday ” is the objective announced by Jean-Marc Dubouloz and many others. In other words, to cover 850 km in 2.5 days from Lyon! For the others, the strategy is different, and Michael Polak sums it up best: “Ride as much as possible, but save energy for the Pyrenees and rainy days“.

Position of the race after the first day (half-day…) :

1. Jean-Marc Dubouloz (avec 260 km !)
2. Jack Butler (avec 252 km)
3. Kilian & Jonas
4. Herman Segers
5.Vivien Dettwiler

Live map to follow via : The Sun Trip 2024 : la carte – The Sun Trip
You can also follow this direct link :  The Sun Trip 2024 : destination Sahara (

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A new opportunity to follow this 5th edition from the inside, with information from the organization and reactions from the participants (who will be the only ones able to publish on this channel).

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First images of the road : 

Anecdotes of the day:

Richard Defay: ” In Viviers a lady mistook my tilted sign for a blank advertising board on which to stick posters

Luciano Trumpler: ” There was a shepherd with hundreds of sheep on the path, I’d never seen that before

Jack Butler: “I don’t expect the pace to continue like this. This is a rare exception, at least I hope so.”

Patrice Plozner: ” Always a crazy crazy start. 100km in 3 hours… Then it dawned on me… We’ve got to keep our energy up for tomorrow…

Kilian & Jonas : “We wanted good sleep and we got stoned and drunk Teenagers with Tasers around our tent. First night and not knowing if we should call police? Finaly, We had less then 5h sleep but ok

More :


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