154KM | 2,790M+ · Saturday 2nd September
There will be nothing easy about this first day. Don’t be fooled by the relatively limited amount of climbing: much of it is at gradients exceeding 10%…
It is likely to be a very fast beginning as we head west out of town on a flat road. It won’t last though: you’d better be ready to switch quickly to the small ring in Zirl around km 15: the first climb of the week is a wall 2km long at 16%.
The climb mercifully levels off to a more reasonable slope for the next 10km as we skirt the pretty village of Seefeld, the cross-country ski capital of Austria, before a long plateau and fast descent back down to the valley.
The serious work of the day begins after 80km or so, when we turn left and begin the long climb up to Kühtai Sattel (2,025m), the highest ski station in Austria, some 1,350m higher up. We are not taking the usual road, from Oetz, but a much smaller one from Haiming, taking us over a first pass at Obergut before a short descent through Ochsengarten to the main road and the second part of the climb to Kühtai.
The climb to Obergut is seriously tough, a relentless struggle at 11.5% for almost 8km. Talk about a beast. This is roughly the same profile as the Mortirolo…
A short descent and just 8km to go to Kühtai. The pain isn’t over, because there’s another 12-13% pitch, fortunately short.
The day finishes with a very fast 40km descent back down to Innsbruck. Look out for cows on the road. The descent is punctuated halfway down by a nasty little kicker from Sellrain to Elmau, 2km at 12%. Beware cramps during what will be the final effort on a tough day.
Once you are in, focus on recovery and get an early night because tomorrow is a big day…
Stage description by Alpine Cols
The stage Map will be available soon
Imperial Palace, or cutting-edge architecture? International convention venue, or alpine wellness oasis? Mountain adventure, or cultural delights? Hiking boots, or high heels? Featuring a distinctive blend of city flair and outdoor pleasures, Innsbruck and its holiday villages offer a unique alpine-urban way of life. Here culture and nature form a harmony of contrasts that hold equal fascination for visitors from all across the globe as well as the city’s approximately 135,000 inhabitants. In what other city does it take you a mere thirty minutes to get from the picturesque, medieval old town and vibrating, modern city up to the sun terrace of a mountain restaurant perched at 2,000m above sea level? Definitely the right perspective for all active and sports minded people who like to regenerate in a sustainable manner and draw new energy from the captivating contrasts waiting to be explored in and around the capital of the Alps.
A city rich in sports history, Innsbruck keeps exceeding expectations in every respect. The capital of the Alps has successfully hosted a number of major sporting events, ranging from Olympic Winter Games in 1964, 1976 and Winter Youth Olympics (YOG 2012) to the 2008 UEFA European Football Championships. And each year the city plays a key role in the international sporting events calendar with the tradition-rich Four Hills Tournament or Air + Style, Europe’s biggest freestyle snowboard festival.
Also during the coming years Innsbruck will be holding various international competitions, such as the 2017 Luge World Championships, closely followed by Climbing and Cycling World Championships the year after. Besides having been starting point or stage city in the Tour of Austria cycling race already on 31 occasions, Innsbruck has played host to the Giro d’Italia both in 1988 and 2009. In 2017, the Haute Route Dolomites competition will join the ranks of top cycling events. Also as of 2017, gravity mountain bikers can look forward to Crankworx, the worldwide biggest mountain bike festival.