TransRockies and TR3 return to Alberta

Craig, Decker, Plaxton among those duking it out in Canadian stage race

The TransRockies mountain bike stage race will kick off in the historic mountain town of Fernie, British Columbia, on Sunday, August 8. 450 mountain bikers from 20 countries are expected for the ninth edition of the race. The TR3, a shorter, three-day version will be run in conjunction with the first three days of the TransRockies.

The seven stages of the TransRockies include six point-to-point courses along the spine of the Rockies and a technical day 1 time trial loop through Fernie's singletrack. Riders who choose to ride the TR3 will finish their ride at the end of stage 3 after having covered 167km of riding with 5,150 metres of climbing including a new crossing of the Continental Divide at nearly 2400 metres above sea level.

The 2010 edition of the TransRockies returns to the traditional Alberta route upon which its legend was built. Its route includes two stopovers at western ranches and rides through the pristine Kananaskis Country Wilderness. It's this combination of wilderness adventure and camping, authentic Western ranches and small town hospitality that's unique to the TransRockies.

When the TransRockies riders roll across the finish line in Canmore on Saturday, August 14, they will have earned their finishers' medals with 400km of riding and 12,000 metres of climbing on a new route through the high Rockies and spectacular scenery.

Along the way they'll be tested by epic climbs, the always unpredictable Rocky Mountain weather and endless singletrack including highlights like Cox Hill and Jumpingpound Ridge in Kananaskis Country and Porky Blue, a new singletrack ride in Fernie which serves up 1,000m of vertical in one continuous descent.

In 2010, the TransRockies and TR3 applied for and were granted S2 stage race status by the UCI. This means that top finishers will receive international ranking points along with a cash purse of CAN$30,000. With that in mind, this year's events feature the strongest-ever field of elite athletes including the likes of Max Plaxton (Team Sho-Air/Specialized) and Matt Hadley (XPREZO-Borzac) who finished second and fourth at the Canadian National Championships held in July, along with Adam Craig (Rabobank/Giant) and Carl Decker (Giant) fresh off their appearance in the Rally event at the X-Games. Those four will be taking on the TR3 and will try to take the crown from last year's Champion Cory Wallace (KONA) who recently won the Canmore 24 Hours of Adrenalin.

In the full, seven-day TransRockies, defending champions Marty Lazarski and Stefan Widmer (Rocky Mountain Factory Team) will be challenged by Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon (Kona) who have enough speed and stage rage experience to be a genuine threat for the win. The open mixed category will feature a battle between two former champions as 2009 winners Mical Dick and Jeff Neilson (Trek Canada/Terrascape) will take on 2007 and 2008 champs Wendy Simms and Normon Thibault (KONA/Frontrunners) who are back up to full racing speed after Simms' maternity break.

In the end though, most of the riders who roll up to the start line of the TransRockies will have the simple goals of completing the event and enjoying their epic ride through the Rockies. By the time they reach the finish line in Canmore seven days later, the Rockies will have pushed them to their limit, asked more of them than they expected, and reminded them that only those willing to go too far will know how strong they are.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the TransRockies.

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