Welcome to Innsbruck, and welcome to the 4th edition of the Haute Route Dolomites. Tracing a new route this year, the seven timed and ranked stages will take hundreds of riders from Innsbruck to Venice through the Austrian Tyrol region and the heart of the Italian Dolomites.
Hundreds of keen amateur cyclists from across the globe arrived in Innsbruck this morning to collect their bib and riders pack in a buzzing race village inside the Congress Centre. The atmosphere in the race village was a mix of excitement and anticipation, as riders prepared for the 867km and 20,850m of climbing that lie ahead over the next week.
Gustavo Donatti from Brazil epitomised the riders’ feelings in the race village this morning, as he collected his rider’s pack and bib. “It’s my first time on the Haute Route,” he said, “for sure it’s going to be a challenge and a hard week. But I am here with six friends from Brazil, it’s an opportunity to enjoy it together, have a good time and drink some nice wine at the end”.
Fabio Adurno from Italy was returning for his second Haute Route after riding the Dolomites last year, and was eager to discover this brand new course: “I’m really excited about the new route through the Dolomites,” he said, “going above 2000m every day we get to really experience the high mountains. For me the Haute Route is about the journey, we’ve done all the training, now it’s time for a week of fun”.
Speaking ahead of the third week-long event in Europe this summer, event director Benjamin Chandelier was looking forward to getting the event underway: “We’ve had two great weeks already in the Pyrenees and the Alps, so I’m looking forward to another one here in the Dolomites,” he said.
“Riders will get to benefit from all our usual services so they can focus on their cycling and have a great time,” he added. “They’ll also get to discover a number of new climbs and host villages on the new route which has been designed between Innsbruck and Venice”.
Race director Davide Marchegiano was delighted with the new course and impatient to get the week started “We’ve got a beautiful new route this year which starts in the Australian Tyrol and traces right through the heart of the Dolomites,” he said, “it’s a stunning course and I’m sure riders will enjoy the new climbs”.
“I wanted to thank all the host venues from Innsbruck all the way to Venice,” he added, “without whom this event wouldn’t have been able to trace a new route and offer riders such a memorable experience”.
Experienced Haute Route veteran Chris Fisher was also looking forward to riding the new Dolomites route this week. After doing the Triple Crown three years in a row, he is ‘only’ doing the Pyrenees-Dolomites Iron this summer and was keen to get riding again tomorrow: “I’m back again because I thought it would be nice to ride my home climbs in the Haute Route environment, I live about 100km away so I know the Tyrol area really well,” he said, “the new course is easier from a logistics point of view and the climbs here are great so it’s should be a good week”.
Karin Seiler-Lall, CEO of Innsbruck Tourism was delighted to welcome the Haute Route Dolomites in Innsbruck: “Innsbruck has been the starting, staging or finishing point of various major bike races on more than thirty occasions,” she said. “Innsbruck is hosting no fewer than six international elite biking events this year. And, of course, Innsbruck is gearing up for the 2018 UCI ROAD World Championships next year”.
“We are happy to be a central part of the Haute Route for the first time,” she added, “It is an amazing global multi-day, multi-stage series of races for ambitious amateurs. The organisation, route and atmosphere are as you would find at a professional competition”.
For tomorrow’s first stage riders will cover a 154km loop over the Seefeld and Sattle climbs, riding in the process two of the best-known ascents in the Austrian Tyrol before spending another night in the picturesque city of Innsbruck.