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EVENS STIEVENART AND JEAN-LUC PEREZ MAKE HISTORY AS THE FIRST FRENCH DUO TO WIN THE « RACE ACROSS AMERICA » AND ACHIEVE A RECORD PERFORMANCE !
Saturday 22 June at 00:55am in the state of Maryland, the French champion and world record holder for the 24-hour Le Mans Solo Cycling Race, Evens Stievenart and his teammate Jean-Luc Perez, won one of the toughest bicycle races in the world : the Race Across America. Since the creation of this legendary race in 1982, Evens and Jean-Luc are the first Frenchman to win.
Evens Stievenart and Jean Luc Perez, a race car driver and life sciences teacher respectively, have realized the American dream.
The EAT WELL / HELLIO team goes down in history as winners of the RAAM, after covering 4,940 km in 6 days, 10 hours and 39 min. They set a new time and speed record of 31.76 km/h.
Evens and Jean Luc sought out this record deep down in the core of their being. The RAAM is a mythical race, not only for its endurance, but also for all of the unexpected challenges that the cyclists must overcome.
A VICTORY FILLED WITH OBSTACLES
In the first 72 hours, Evens and Jean-Luc rode against the wind which set them 4 hours behind the existing record. But the two warriors kept up the gruelling pace ! With each relay lasting 1 hour and 15 minutes on average and occasionally varying from 8 minutes to 2 hours and 10min. The goal being to optimize performance at all times. They gain 5 min, sometimes 10 min on the existing record and keeping the morale up until the end, despite the many challenges.
Throughout the race, the two cyclists endured a few scares : being attacked by wild dogs, unexpected deer, rabbit and fox crossings during the night, or the 180 km stretch of highway under a torrential thunder and lightning storm, not to mention the freight trucks which pay little attention to the cyclists on their path.
« This race is incredibly intense. In retrospect, I can say that we didn’t know what was in store for us. When a dog came up and tried to bite me, I was already riding at my maximum pace. But apparently, I was wrong. When confronted with extreme conditions, we summon up the strength and courage to confront them head on. The mind is stronger than the body and allows you to surpass your expectations. In sum, as Mark Twain so nicely put it : « we didn’t know it was impossible, so we did it ! » - Evens Stievenart.
Meanwhile, the crew was moving at the same hectic pace struggling to keep up with the cyclists and monitor each relay : whenever one cyclist stops, the other takes over. The car became a recuperation zone for changing clothes, eating protein-based meals and taking 10 to 15 min naps. 6 days and 10 hours, nonstop !
Towards the end of the race, Evens Stievenart and Jean-Luc Perez decided to divvy up the remaining distance according to their respective strengths and weaknesses. Evens, the lighter of the two, offered take the hills, leaving Jean-Luc with the downhills. This strategy paid off, seeing as the duo won the race and set a new record !
ADDING ANOTHER VICTORY TO THE 24-HOUR LE MANS SOLO RACE CHAMPION’s LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS!
For Evens Stievenart, professional cyclist and seasoned race car driver, it’s a victory which tops an impressive list of achievements: 3 victories at the Le Mans racetrack, 2 as a solo cyclist in 2016 and 2017 and 1 as a race car driver in 2018. Male solo champion in the 2018 12-hour World Time Trial Championships in Borrego Springs California, he also won the 24-hour Bike Sebring Solo Race in 2018 in Florida and set a new race record of +860 km in 24 hours. Evens Stievenart also blew us away during the 2017 edition of the 24-hour Le Mans Cycling Race, shattering his previous record with a performance of 950 km in 24 hours. But he’s not going to stop there. This phenomenal athlete with a mind of steel plans to re-enroll for the RAAM again in 2020 or 2021, only this time solo.
Thanks to this victory, Evens Stievenart and Jean-Luc Perez are now part of the Race Across America legend.
Proud sponsor, Christophe Février, president of HELLIO, a GEO PLC brand within the group Les Manufactures Février :
« Evens is an athlete who possesses a unique willpower and focus as well as a remarkable character. In addition to being a top athlete, he is an ambitious and determined man with rare qualities. With his teammate Jean-Luc Perez, they make an unusual and outstanding duo. We were thrilled to support and follow them throughout the different stages of this incredible challenge. The Flair Production film crew was at their side over the course of this wonderful competition. We will soon share more photos of the race as well as our team’s unique testimony. Our two cyclists are exceptional examples of inspiration and drive. »
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