Österreich Rundfahrt "Olympic preparation race"

The 60th Österreich Rundfahrt doesn't fear being scheduled opposite the Tour de France this year. It...

The 60th Österreich Rundfahrt doesn't fear being scheduled opposite the Tour de France this year. It is billing itself as the ideal preparation for the Beijing Olympics, and can count on the presence of none other than World and Olympic Champion Paolo Bettini. The race, which was presented Thursday evening, is being held July 6-13, and covers more than 1,000 kilometres.

For the first time, the event will spend its first two days outside of Austria. It starts with a 3.3 km prologue in Klausen/Chiusa, Italy, and the first stage runs from Klausen to winter sports resort Cortina d'Ampezzo. Arriving in Austria the next day, the riders will finish atop the Kitzbüheler Horn. Stage three is the Queen stage, with five ranked climbs, including the legendary Grossglockner. The race then winds its way through Austria, with a 25.9 km individual time trial on the penultimate day, before ending in Vienna.

The race will feature nine ProTour teams, and is looking forward to some "internationally famous cyclists, who are specifically preparing for the Olympic games in Beijing," according to race director Ursula Riha. One of those is World Champion Paolo Bettini of Team Quickstep. In a video shown at the presentation, he said, "I have good memories of Austria and especially of the World Championships in Salzburg 2006 and want to be in the Rundfahrt. I hope that I can give a spectacular impression."

The Österreich-Rundfahrt details as follows:

July 6: Prologue - Klausen/Chiusa (Italy)/ITT, 3.3 km
July 7: Stage 1 - Klausen - Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy), 145 km
July 8: Stage 2 - Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy) - Kitzbüheler Horn/Alpenhaus, 180.6 km
July 9: Stage 3 - Kitzbühel - Prägraten am Großvenediger, 183.7 km
July 10: Stage 4 - Lienz - Wolfsberg, 212.8 km
July 11: Stage 5 - Wiener Neustadt - Bad Vöslau, 179.7 km
July 12: Stage 6 - Podersdorf am Neusiedlersee/EZF, 25.9 km
July 13: Stage 7 - Podersdorf am Neusiedlersee - Wien (Rauthausplatz), 128.5 km

Total length: 1,059.5 km

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