RED BULL X-ALPS 2009 - final countdown
The 4th edition of the Red Bull X-Alps, the most demanding and exciting paragliding and running adventure race in the world, starts on 19 July.
With the countdown running for the Red Bull X-Alps 2009, there is already something new before it even kicks off: for the first time ever the world's most demanding and exhausting paragliding and running adventure race will start from the Baroque city of Salzburg in Austria.
30 athletes from 23 different countries will attempt to reach the finishing line in Munich after having passed 7 turnpoints either racing on foot or paragliding. This gruelling non-stop competition crosses the Alps from east to west and is reserved to elite athletes only. Last year for example only five participants, Alex Hofer, Toma Coconea (ROM), Martin Müller (SUI3), Urs Lötscher (SUI2) e Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN) crossed the finishing line in Munich.
The competition from Salzburg to Monaco is 818km long and is comprised of 7 turnpoints in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France. This is the most international race course ever designed for paragliding and running competitions and, from a strategic point of view, the most complex to organise ever.
"I really like this new course" stated competition organiser Hanner Arch. "It has a bit of everything, and requires intelligent strategies, flying technique and physical stamina. It's slightly shorter than in the past, but instead of starting on a glacier at 2653m the athletes will depart from Salzburg at 424m. This will make a big difference."
Once again the man to beat will be Alex Hofer from Switzerland who will attempt to win his third title in a row, after his victories in 2005 and 2007, but this will be no mean task. Many will attempt to dethrone him, including the Italians Leone Antonio Pascale (ITA1), competing for the second time, and Andy Frötscher (ITA2), competing for the fourth time.
Start: center of Salzburg
1st turnpoint: Competitors will not have the time to be tourists in Salzburg as they will run out of the city and reach Gaisberg. Located at 1265m and 6km from the start, Gaisberg is the preferred take-off point for local athletes. This will be the first stamina test for the competitors.
2nd turnpoint: The athletes will either fly or run to the second turnpoint, Watzmann, at 2713m the third highest mountain in Germany.
3rd turnpoint: Action continues south with turnpoint around the cylindrical Grossglockner. The highest mountain in Austria was the scene of some dramatic moments in 2007 when the athletes failed to reach the 2504m summit due to adverse weather conditions.
4th turnpoint: the next turnpoint is located 189km away in the Marmolada in Italy. Athletes must pass south of the 3343m high summit.
5th turnpoint: the reach the Matterhorn, the fifth turnpoint located in Switzerland, athletes will have to travel 328km. The right tactics are fundamental here. Spectators will remember Alex Hofer's 2007 decision to fly via the Valtellina which enabled him to overtake all other competitors and granted him his second victory in a row.
6th turnpoint: From the Matterhorn the athletes will head north to the Mont Blanc in France
7th turnpoint: 234km lead to Mont Gros, the final turnpoint on the Mediterranean coast
Goal: from Mont Gros the 'survivors' will fly directly to the beach at Monaco
|COMEPTITORS RED BULL X-ALPS 2009
|Lloyd Pennicuik (AUS)
Helmut Eichholzer (AUT1)
Christian Amon (AUT2)
Thomas de Dorlodot (BEL)
Max Fanderl (CAN)
Jan Skrabalek (CZE)
Jouni Makkonen (FIN)
Vincent Sprungli (FRA1)
Julien Wirtz (FRA2
Julien Serré (FRA3)
|Michael Gebert (GER)
Aidan Toase (GBR1)
Tom Payne (GBR2)
Pal Takats (HUN)
Leone Antonio Pascale (ITA1)
Andy Frötscher (ITA2)
Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN)
Ronny Geijsen (NED)
Raul Penso (VEN)
|Filip Jagla (POL)
Toma Coconea (ROM)
Evgeny Gryaznov (RUS)
Peter Vrabec (SVK)
Primoz Susa (SLO)
Pierre Carter (RSA)
Ramon Morillas (ESP)
Alex Hofer (SUI1)
Martin Müller (SUI2)
Christian Maurer (SUI3)
Honza Reijmanek (USA)
ALL INFO AND LIVE RESULTS RED BULL X-ALPS 2009: www.redbullxalps.com