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Ice queen claims world first in South Pole cycle

Maria Leijerstam beat two male rivals in the race to claim a world first. Credit: Ryan Edy

An adventurer from the Vale of Glamorgan has achieved a world first by cycling to the South Pole from the edge of the continent in just 10 days. Maria Leijerstam managed the feat this Friday morning following a gruelling 500 mile ride in "vicious" conditions.

The 35-year-old set off from the Novo Russian air force base on December 16 and went head to head against two other male riders. Her team said at one point the sweat on the inside of her boots froze and she heated her freeze-dried food by melting snow on a small stove inside her wind blasted tent.

Maria described the Antartica as vicious but beautiful in her winning journey. Credit: Ryan Edy

However, the former management consultant dug deep and pedalled her way into the record books while on a customised recumbent bike PolarCycle. Ms Leijerstam's mother Adrianne said her daughter's success was due to "meticulous planning, super fitness and pure determination".

Before setting out on her journey the extreme cyclist said: "I've had to get my body prepared for burning fat and not carbohydrates, so I've been training for two to three hours on an empty stomach which teaches my body to become more efficient."

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South Pole cycle record within sight

Maria Leijerstam is hoping to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of Antarctica. Credit: Ryan Edy

It's Christmas Day but for Maria it means another hard day of cycling.

She's cycled 81km per day. On a continent where it never gets dark she has spent as little time as possible sleeping and maximum time she can cycling.

Maria is determined to reach the South Pole within the next three days.

In her blog yesterday she described the Antartica as vicious but beautiful.

You can follow Maria's journey here.

Welsh adventurer leads in South Pole cycle title

Maria is hoping to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of Antarctica. Credit: Ryan Edy

Welsh adventurer Maria Leijerstam is well ahead of her two male rivals in the race to claim a world first cycle title this Christmas.

Although Maria, 35, from the Vale of Glamorgan started days later and took a different route to the South Pole from the edge of the continent, her average of 40 km per day is putting her well in the running for a first.

Maria battling temperatures of up to minus 40 degrees celcius Credit: Ryan Edy

With over 45kg of food and fuel, Maria started her journey started on 17th December.

After the first 80km she spent two days cycling up the Leverett glacier against very strong wind.

Fresh snow is making the task difficult and increasing the drag but she is continuing to travel 40-60 km per day.

She will spend both Christmas day and New Years day cycling in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees with the aim of reaching the South Pole by 7th January 2014.

You can follow Maria's journey here.

Adventurer sets sights on South Pole cycling record

An adventurer from Wales has set off on her latest dare devil trip which could see her achieve a world first. Maria Leijerstam from the Vale of Glamorgan is hoping to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of Antarctica.

She will spend Christmas day and New Year's day on a specially designed bike in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees as Kevin Ashford reports.

Welsh adventurer prepares for South Pole cycle

Maria Leijerstam on bike in snow
Maria Leijerstam hopes to be the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole Credit: Ryan Edy

Adventurer Maria Leijerstam, 35, is heading out to Antarctica in an attempt to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the continent.

She will spend both Christmas day and New Years day cycling in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees with the aim of reaching the South Pole by January 7 2014.

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Four Welsh riders in GB Track World Cup squad

Four Welsh riders have been named in Great Britain's squad for the upcoming Track Cycling World Cup in Mexico.

Becky James will ride in the Women's Sprint while Elinor Barker will ride in the Women's endurance group. Owain Doull and Sam Harrison will ride in the men's endurance group.

Great Britain won eight medals at the opening round of the series in Manchester.

The World Cup in Manchester has given us a steady start to the season – we got some good results there and it also highlighted some aspects the team needs to work on.We’re keen to build on that in the next round and earn as many qualifying points for the world championships as we can so we’re sending a strong squad over to Mexico for the next round.

– GB Cycling Performance Manager, Shane Sutton OBE

Active Travel Bill passed by Assembly Members

Assembly Members have voted in favour of plans to radically reform support for cyclists and walkers, to encourage more healthy lifestyles. The new law is said to be a world first.

It would force local authorities to consider the needs of both walkers and those on bikes as they plan transport networks. The Active Travel (Wales) Act also calls on Welsh Ministers and Councils to promote active travel and provide annual updates to the Welsh Assembly.

Jane Lorimer, National Director of Sustrans Cymru, said “The passing of this legislation shows that Wales’ leadership is serious about making walking and cycling the normal choice for more of our everyday shorter journeys."

An exciting finish as Tour of Britain comes to Wales

Mark Cavendish is in top position after stage four, with a time of 4hrs 45mins 42secs Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Mark Cavendish has won stage four of the Tour of Britain cycling race, with fellow Briton Sir Bradley Wiggins remaining top of the general classification.

Today's route was a punishing 117 miles, starting in Stoke-on-Trent and coming into Wales via Wrexham.

It then crossed the region through Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy, with the finish line at Llanberis.

Sir Bradley Wiggins approaches the top of Pen-y-Pass with the Snowdon Massif in the background Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider Cavendish triumphed in a bunch sprint at the end of a challenging day.

Wiggins, meanwhile, who powered his way to the gold jersey with a dominant performance in the stage three time trial, finished in the peloton to stay in front with four stages to go.

Mark Colbourne's 'incredible impact' on paracycling

The Executive Director of Disability Sport Wales says Mark Colbourne has made an 'incredible impact' on the world of paracycling.

Colbourne announced his retirement from the sport today.

His record speaks for itself. He is a world class rider and will be a sad loss to British and Welsh sport.

Mark has also been the perfect role model, inspiring many young riders to further their own personal goals. In this sense Mark is an important part of our legacy and we hope that he will continue to act in an ambassadorial role for Disability Sport Wales and continue to help us to inspire a new generation of athletes.

– Jon Morgan, Disability Sport Wales
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