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Hero’s welcome in Edinburgh for round-the-world cyclist

Mr Beaumont predicted it would take him a few more days before the scale of what he and his team had achieved actually sunk in.

The fastest man to cycle around the globe has returned home to a hero’s welcome following his record-breaking feat.

Ultra-endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont touched down with his family at Edinburgh Airport on Wednesday evening, two days after shattering the record for circumnavigating the globe on a bike.

The 34-year-old adventurer set off from France in summer on a mission to go “around the world in 80 days” and arrived back in Paris on Monday on the 79th day of the journey.

Not only did he beat his own target for the Artemis World Cycle challenge, but he sliced a third – 44 days – off the previous record for the round-the-world trip.

Mr Beaumont arrived at the airport to the sound of a piper and cheers from a waiting crowd.

He told the Press Association: “It’s just wonderful to arrive back in Edinburgh, get back to Scotland. And what a welcome, I didn’t expect that.

“A lot of people have shown their support online and there was a great turnout in Paris, but two days later to turn up in Edinburgh and have such a homecoming is wonderful.”

Mr Beaumont predicted it would take him a few more days before the scale of what he and his team had achieved actually sunk in.

“Since July 2 I was riding 240 miles a day, 16 hours a day, the alarm went off at 3.30am every morning,” he said.

“It was an absolutely brutal schedule. Mentally and physically it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

“It’s going to take me a couple of months physically to train down and readjust.

“But I think the scale of the challenge with the team behind me, everything we’ve pulled off not just in the last 78-and-a-bit days but the last two years of build-up, I don’t think it’s fully sunk in.

“I guess I’m still stuck on the bike a bit.”

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(Sandy Young/PA)

Mr Beaumont arrived back in the UK with his wife and two young daughters.

He set off in July from under the Arc de Triomphe, inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel Around The World In Eighty Days.

The Scot travelled through 16 countries during his four-stage challenge, travelling through Europe, Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

During the trip, Mr Beaumont was also awarded the Guinness World Records title for the most miles cycled in a month, from Paris to Perth, Australia, verified at 7,031 miles (11,315km).

The adventurer completed the total 18,000-mile challenge despite ferocious weather conditions in the southern hemisphere and North America and serious falls off his bike.

He said: “There were moments when the success of the whole project was in question.

“I had three crashes, one of them actually happened in the Pyrenees in the final days, which was a real worry and scared the whole team.

“The worst was near Moscow on day nine when I crashed and broke a tooth and badly hurt my elbow, so carrying on on the bike after that was in question and when I did get back on, very painful.

“But the other side of the struggle was just the attrition of it, the battle against sleep deprivation and the weeks and months of doing this.

“By the time I got across North America I was really struggling.”

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(Sandy Young/PA)

In 2008 Mr Beaumont completed a solo cycle around the globe in 194 days, setting a world record.

Since then, the record was whittled down to 123 days by another rider.

Unlike his 2008 ride, Mr Beaumont was accompanied by a 40-strong fully professional expedition team this time around.

He explained: “I was not an adventurer, not a wild man out there trying to figure out where I’m going to pitch my tent.

“It was purely about performance, purely about ultra-endurance. It really was about doing something completely different.

“A lot of people doubted whether this was possible when I left Scotland and it’s a great feeling to come back and prove those doubters wrong.”

:: To donate £10 to Orkidstudio, the charity supported by Mr Beaumont via the expedition, text “ORKD80 £10” to 70070 or visit justgiving.com/fundraising/markbeaumont-80days

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