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    Belgian cyclist virtually climbs Mt. Everest

    The 39-year-old Flemish rider completed the 268 -km virtual Everesting circuit in 15 hours and 46 minutes. Credit: CC

    Fien Lammertyn has become the first Belgian female cyclist to complete a virtual climb of Mount Everest on a trainer bike, setting a new world record in the process.

    With a positive gradient of 10,738 metres, the 39-year-old Flemish rider completed the 268 -km virtual Everesting circuit in 15 hours and 46 minutes.

    Everesting is a special challenge that entails climbing a slope of up to 8,848 metres, which is the exact height of Mount Everest, the highest elevation in the world. It can be done on foot or on cycle. Last year, Australian Richie Porte climbed the Col de la Madone in southern France, attaining a positive gradient of 9,012 metres, in 16 hours, including 14 hours and 22 minutes on his cycle.

    “It was a crazy idea, but I wanted to do something special during this period, which is just as crazy,” Lammertyn said after completing her feat on the Zwift platform. “Normally, I always do the cycle tourist circuits of the Flanders and Paris-Roubaix tours, but that has fallen by the wayside. I’m proud to have accomplished this. I started at 3:30 AM and after 13 hours of effort, I had taken up the Everest Challenge.”

    Not satisfied with achieving 8,484 metres, Lammertyn kept going. “My feet were still going strong on the pedals while I tackled the women’s record, which was 10,738 metres,” she said. “I was aiming for the 11,000-metre mark but I had a technical problem and didn’t want to risk losing my data.”

    While Lammertyn is the first Belgian woman to complete the challenge virtually, Sylvie Uyttendaele did it on the road in 2017, climbing La Houppe many times in a 23-hour-long effort.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times