The Iron Bike mountain bike stage race will celebrate its 20th edition in the summer of 2013. Held in July and situated in the Italian Alps, the event is regarded as one of the hardest mountain bike stage races in the world.
The 2013 edition will begin on July 20 at Limone Piedmont (Cuneo) and will finish nine days later at Sauze d'Oulx (Torino), making it one day longer than previously. Racers can expect huge Alpine climbs followed by long, technical descents.
Next year's event will feature some new terrain, right from the go. Stage 1 will include a helicopter uplift. After riding to a height of 2200m, everyone will be lifted to the peak of another mountain, Testa Rimà to start a descent to the stage finish at Vinadio. Other race highlights will include passing through the Buco di Viso tunnel, a small alpine tunnel crossing the French/Italian border at an altitude of 2882m. The old favourites will not be missed, with Mt Chabberton at 3200m and the 4000 steps of the Fenestrelle fort also featuring.
The final route will not be unveiled until the evening before the race, when riders are handed the road book, but guided by 2012 statistics, over 700km and 27,000m of climbing can be expected. It is not for the faint hearted, but comments from previous finishers prove it is worth the effort.
"Beyond a bike race! A biblical challenge of epic proportions that will push you further than you thought you could ever go!" said Rickie Cotter, 2012 women's winner.
The 120 entries are expected to sell out within 24 hours of opening on December 15.
For more information, visit www.ironbike.it.