The Mountains to the Beach mountain bike stage race will kick off in less than one month in Australia. The race will run from March 5-9, 2012.
Queensland's Andy Fellows will return defend his title in 2012, while 2011 second place finisher Garry James will also be back and hot on his wheels to take this year's win. But both will be looking over their shoulder knowing the near 100-strong peloton also consists of 24-Hour Solo World Champion and 2010 winner Jason English and former Highland Fling champion Shaun Lewis.
Over five days, riders will cover 400km from the roof of Australia to the surf beaches of the South Coast. The route entices both Australia's elite mountain bikers, as well as a field of everyday athletes keen to take in some of New South Wales' most stunning scenery, whilst pushing their physical and mental endurance.
For the first time, the 2012 line-up includes a tandem mountain bike, with partially sighted rider John Domandl bringing his custom steed, piloted by race doctor Rob Watson.
Riders will be transported by chairlift to the start line on the slopes of Mt Kosciuszko at Thredbo and over six timed race stages and five untimed cruise stages will cover all types of terrain. From challenging downhills in the rugged Alpine country; through lush rainforests, across rivers, creeks and sandbars, racers will eventually finish with a ride along the Australian coastline.
"The route is looking cool and green after the damp conditions of recent month, but snorkels are optional," said event organizer Huw Kingston.