Schladming-Dachstein is hosting the 21. edition of Alpentour Trophy. 200 kilometres with 9.000 metres climbing are waiting for the 350 athletes from 30 nations. All four stages are held at the venue of the Alpine Ski World Championships of 1982 and 2013. The start and finish area of Austria biggest mountain bike stage race is situated at the cable car station of Schladming.
Athletes from five continents will make a start on the UCI stage race. The peloton will be leaded by last years Men’s runner-up Daniel Geismayr. The Austrian is ready to gain his next title after 2017. As in 2018 he is sharing his mountain bike season with road cycling, where he is racing for the continental outfit Vorarlberg – Santic. For the off-road races he is signed by German Team Centurion – Vaude.
Geismayr has to fight his way back from injury, after he broke his scaphoid bone at Tour of the Alps. Right after surgery he prepared at an altitude camp in Livigno for his title ambitions. “It is some time ago, that I had done some races, so I want to find my rhythm again at Alpentour Trophy. This stage race will define my shape”, explained the 29-Year-Old. He knows the benefits of the four-day-race. “The route is perfect and also as an amateur rider you can have four days of fun without a big expense”, he added.
Another top star of mountain bike marathon is Jochen Käß. The German is team mate of Geismayr and is also aiming for a top spot at this years Trophy. Partnering Markus Kaufmann he won last summer’s Bike-Transalp. This season the ways of the two German riders divided, because Kaufmann went to Texpa – Simplon. Beside Geismayr they are the hottest potatoes in this year’s edition.
All the Austrian hopes at the women’s race are carried by Angelika Tazreiter of KTM Factory Team. She is the current national champion at mountain bike marathon and travels to Schladming with a win at Kürnberg in her luggage. Two years ago she won the stage at Hauser Kaibling and is excited to be back at Alpentour Trophy: “It is a real classic and persuades year by year with a strong field. It would be amazing if I can get a spot on the podium”.
For most of the 350 participants wins, UCI points and prize money are not priorities. It is the big adventure of mountainbiking, they have all in common and what they can live at the four days at Schladming. A third of the athletes are racing at the Alpentour Trophy Adventure, where the 200 Kilometres are completed as a two-persons team.
The Trophy 2019 starts with the longest and hardest stage on day one, where the route will take them to Dachstein. The athletes have to ride 70 kilometres and climb 3.100 metres of altitude on the queen stage on the first day. Second stage this year is Hochwurzen with 61 kilometres. Hauser Kaibling is on the schedule for the third day and on final day the overall classification will be decided again in a 14 kilometres long individual time trial from the valley to the top of Planai cable car.