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10-07-2024 | Michelle Zacht

Alpentour: an addictive multi-day marathon!

After our last Alpentour in 2018, we returned to the winter sports village of Schladming in Austria full of curiosity for the fourth time. Would the four-day MTB marathon have retained its unique appeal? The record number of 700 participants for this year's 25th edition of the event undoubtedly confirms that it is still unprecedentedly popular.

Alpentour 2024 stage 1

The Alpentour, originally a UCI event with individual standings, has expanded in recent years to include duo and e-bike categories for amateurs. In honor of the anniversary, organizers Regina Stanger and Gerhard Schönbacher are introducing the "one day Alpentour" with three distances and a "City Sprint" for children. The event continues to innovate and move with the times. CycloWorld is participating with two teams in the mixed team classification, Hadassah and Sven, and me together with my partner Axel. In four days, we have to cover 200 kilometers and 9000 meters of elevation in the Schladming-Dachstein region.

A multi-day MTB marathon as a vacation

A big plus is that all stages start and finish from the same place. This definitely avoids travel stress. We don't have to get out of bed very early and enjoy the rich breakfast at Sporthotel Royer. The stages start at 10 a.m. in the heart of Schladming, except for the time trial on Sunday. After the effort, a fantastic buffet-style dinner is served in the early evening in the "Hohe Tennehaus", where the highlights of the day's stage are also presented. A large part of the participants are present here, which definitely contributes to the great atmosphere of the event. This set-up almost sounds like a vacation, right?

Downhill during Alpentour 2024

The days beforehand, we will explore the area and also ride the climb from previous editions of the Alpentour to the Giglachsee: as far as we are concerned, an absolute highlight in this area! Unfortunately, no permission was given by the landowners for this edition. The advantage is that we can have a Kaiserschmarrn at the mountain hut at the summit. With the Sommercard (the tourist card you receive when staying in one of the accommodations there), you can use the ski elevators in the area for free once a day, with a small extra charge for your bike: ideal if you want to save your legs but already want to practice the bike park descent. After all, this is where you end every stage during the Alpentour.

Tropical start

On Thursday, vacation mode is over: at 10 a.m. the starting gun goes off under tropical temperatures in the heart of Schladming town center. The first three days will have tough stages ahead of us. The stage to Hauser Kaibling, with 60 kilometers and just under 2,000 meters of elevation and relatively few technical descents, is just a warm-up on paper. The heat certainly doesn't make the climbing, with regular gradients above 20%, any easier. The more we approached the summit, the larger the battlefield of participants jumping into streams to refill their water bottles, standing still on the side over their handlebars to recover, but most of all (like me) arriving at the top completely "gutted." The best resort turned out to be the coke at the supply station at the summit.

Stage 3 of Alpentour 2024

Up the ski slopes

This second and undoubtedly most breathtaking stage of the week begins with a challenging long climb to the Turlwandhutte, rewarded with a spectacular panorama of the Dachstein massif. The 70 kilometers contain the most meters of elevation of the week, some 2,900, but above all the most demanding descents. The dreaded calf-biter along the ski jump was replaced this year by a nasty climb over the ski slope where we were allowed to grind uphill on the smallest gear.

Unfortunately, the temperatures dropped a bit for the third stage, making the climbs for the 2,600 meters of elevation a bit more pleasant. The "wall" over a new ski slope on this stage was less enjoyable; many participants cursed it as they pushed their bikes up. Once at the summit at Reiteralm, I knew the toughest part was over: half the distance had been covered, and only 600 meters of elevation remained until we entered the bike park on our way to the final finish in Schladming. Concentration remains required until the end!

Time trial during Alpentour 2024

A dessert of 'just' 11 kilometers

'Unfortunately' we know what awaits us on the last day: the traditional mountain time trial with the finish to the Schafalm at mountain station Planai. It's only 11 kilometers, but with 1100 meters of elevation. According to a pre-established start list, we can start every 30 seconds, which in our case also means the number of seconds between the two CycloWorld teams. The first part of the climb is fine, but as soon as we dive into the forest we know enough: the last kilometers on a hiking trail with hairpin turns, the percentages are well above 20% and that means grinding or walking. Despite having Hadassah and Sven in sight, we don't manage to catch up with them. Arriving at the top, we proudly receive our finisher's medal. We then encourage our friends and the professionals, who are still fighting to make up seconds on the final classification. These cheers create a unique atmosphere at the summit! The week ends in style with a delicious pasta buffet at the Schafalm.

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Delightful memories

After several years of absence, it felt like coming home to the "warm nest" of this organization and its beautiful surroundings. A miss as far as we were concerned was the most beautiful stage to the Giglachsee. Compared to previous editions, the stages were modified with accents and are changed annually in order. This does not apply to the mountain time trial: this has been the finale for years. If you like lots of trails and spectacular descents, then the Alpentour is not the most challenging multi-day, but physically it is certainly not to be underestimated.

Schladming during Alpentour 2024

Given the heat this edition, we found the number of refreshment stations on the lean side: many participants in the rear were short of drinks. The food on offer was sober in this regard, but the extensive buffet in the evening more than made up for that! The organization has absolutely not stood still in this respect and is doing everything possible to put down a race that suits the current times.

What this multi-day marathon proves to us every time again: new friendships are made and existing friendships intensify. We cannot but conclude that the Alpentour creates memories every time which is addictive for us: we will come back here no matter what!

Team CycloWorld at Alpentour 2024


Colombian Hector Leonardo Paez managed to prolong his title in this 25th edition, among the ladies German Adelheid Morath proved to be the best over the 4 stages. Our teams finished fifth and sixth in the Mixed Duo classification. All results can be found here.

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