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Salzkammergut Trophy changes for 2009

The Dachstein West ski resort, which hosts the Salzkammergut Trophy, is covered in places by more than two meters of snow, but the preparations for Austria's biggest mountain bike marathon on July 18 are already underway.

A course change will skip the Echern Valley after the long section along Lake Hallstatt. Instead the revised course will climb a narrow path with 13 serpentines - a former cart trail built in the mid 19th century leading to the oldest salt mines in the world. The trail passes the famous Hallstatt necropolis where archaeologists believe that there are more than 4,000 graves dating back to the Iron Age (800 - 400 B.C.). The vantage point will offer views of the lake and the surrounding mountain range. The steepest part of this trail passes directly the miners' refuge and has a 30 percent incline before heading back to Rossalm.

Besides the four well-established and popular courses of 209, 110, 53 and 27 kilometers there will be an additional distance of 36 kilometers. This course is designed especially for juniors who wish to race further than 27km, but who are not permitted to ride longer than two hours according to Austrian Cycling Federation regulations.

Registration for 2009 will be limited to 1,500 racers for both the 110km and the 53km distances.

For more information visit www.trophy.at.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.