Less than 24 hours before the world’s toughest adventure race starts in Salzburg!
The city of Mozart is holding its breath. In less than 24 hours, the statue of the city’s most famous son will look down as 32 athletes from around the world set off on Sunday at 11:30 from the Mozartplatz on a great adventure odyssey – the Red Bull X-Alps 2019.
It’s a 1,138km race, by foot and paraglider from Salzburg to Monaco via 13 Turnpoints in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.
“Without a doubt, it’s the toughest edition ever,” says race organizer Ulrich Grill. “This year the start is two weeks earlier than usual and there is still a lot of snow in the high mountains. That could make it very challenging for athletes when hiking across the Alps. But we also have one of the strongest lineups ever. This year might well be the year we see a new face on the winner’s podium. Chrigel Maurer will need to fight very hard to achieve a sixth consecutive victory.”
The high snow-levels means that in addition to their usual mandatory equipment, athletes have to carry avalanche gear, wear crampons and carry an ice axe when attempting to cross treacherous snow fields by foot.
The route begins with athletes running through the streets of Salzburg’s old city before hiking up to the summit of the Gaisberg, 1,287m. From here it’s 55km south to the second Turnpoint of Wagrain-Kleinarl, which hosted the race Prologue.
"We have a different snow situation as it’s more like spring"
It could take all afternoon to reach the Turnpoint due to the challenging weather conditions according to Ubimet, the race’s official meteorology partner.
From Wagrain-Kleinarl they head north-west to Aschau-Chiemsee, then south across the main Alpine ridge to Kronplatz, before crossing back the Alps a second time to Lermoos Tiroler Zugspitz Arena.
From here the route follows a westerly course via the Swiss Turnpoints of Davos, Titlis (at 3,238m, the highest Turnpoint of the route) and the legendary Eiger mountain. Then it’s into France to tag Mt Blanc, St Hilaire and Cheval Blanc via another detour into Italy for Monte Viso.
“It’s a new route, a new adventure,” said Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), the five time champion. “We have a different snow situation as it’s more like spring and we’ll have to check the weather. If we can fly, it’s easy but if we have to hike for sure it will be very hard. We have to have good tactics, take day by day and have fun.”
Fans around the world will be able to follow the action via Live Tracking, which this year has a new VR feature letting the audience join the athletes in the air via ‘cockpit view’. Whoever reaches Monaco first, it promises to be an epic adventure.
Follow the action via Live Tracking tomorrow from 11.30am!