Heras to team with Pinto for Brasil Ride

The 2011 Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race is set for its second edition on October 23-29. The six-day contest will take racers from Chapada Diamantina to Bahia.

Former three-time Vuelta a Espana winner Roberto Heras is among the riders confirmed for the Brasil Ride.

"The athletes can measure their strength handlebar to handlebar with the world's top riders like Heras," said Roma.

Heras won the Titan Desert race this season - his third overall victory at the Morrocan race. He will race in Brazil with Portuguese rider Luis Leão Pinto, a three-time national marathon champion and runner-up in the La Ruta de los Conquistadores.

New for this year is a cross country stage on the fourth day of the race near the city of Rio de Contas. It will feature a course of about 8km, and racers will do three laps. Unlike the rest of the race, which will be done as teams, racers will compete individually in the cross country stage, but the results will come from the average of the two riders on each team.

According to the organizer Mario Roma, this is an opportunity to test the performance of individual competitors. "The Brazilian athletes will race alongside the world elite and see if the differences are on the start gate or on the legs and techniques for everyone."

The remaining stages will be in the usual marathon style and will average between 80 and 100km per day.

Riders from 14 countries - Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, United States of America, Canada, Poland, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Belgian, South Africa - and more than 13 Brazilian states are registered thus far.

Brazilian racers will compete for a white jersey, which will go to the best Brazilian team. The best riders overall will get to wear yellow (men), orange (women), blue (masters) and green (mixed).

"Due to the large participation of athletes and international media, we have created the white jersey for the Brazilian athletes so they may get some focus and have a national competition within the international race."

Brasil will also host the Olympic Games in 2016. "The Brazil Ride supports development of the Brazilian Olympic sport and the promotion of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 by bringing Olympic-level athletes from around the world."

For more information visit www.brasilride.com.

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