Robic finishes race in nine days

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Jure Robic won the Race Across America for a record fifth time Friday, completing the transcontinental bicycle race in nine days, 1 hour, 1 minute.

The Slovenian averaged 13.85 mph over the 3,004 miles in the 29th annual RAAM. He also won in 2004-05 and 2007-08 and is the only solo man to win the race more than three times.

Robic was about 180 miles ahead of his nearest competitor when he crossed the finish line at 6:43 p.m.

He was well off the record pace 15.40 mph Pete Penseyres set in the 1986 race. The record is measured in average speed because the course varies in length each year, though it is always run from west to east.

Robic had set a goal of breaking the record this year, but he and the other competitors were hampered by heavy rain in Kansas that washed out roads and resulted in detours.

Racers generally spend 21-22 hours a day on their bikes, with the other 2-3 hours for eating, showering, sleeping and getting massages. Despite that grind, Robic was feeling good enough during the last day of his ride to take an interest in Slovenia's 2-2 draw with the United States in the World Cup.

His support crew had told him Slovenia had been leading 2-0 and he was surprised to learn that the U.S. had come back to tie the match.

After finishing he told race president Fred Boethling, "You guys are worthy opponents."

Gerhard Gulewicz of Austria was leading a pack of 14 solo males still on the course when Robic finished. Twenty-five men were in the field when the race in Oceanside, Calif., on June 9.

Barbara Buatois of France was about 380 miles out Friday evening, leading the three solo females still riding out of the five who set out June 8.

The Team Type I, an eight-man relay squad, was the top team, finishing early Friday in 5 days, 10 hours, 48 minutes by averaging 22.97 mph. They started Saturday.