Few challenges sound as tough as the Ischgl Ironbike, a 700km mountain bike marathon through the Alps with over 22,000m of climbing. This weekend will see the 18th edition of the brutal Ironbike race in Italy, where competitors will be racing over the toughest terrain that the Alps have to offer.
There are better known stage races in the Alps, but none that are harder. The eight day event, which consists of a prologue and seven full racing days will cover over 700km and 22,000m of climbing with tough climbs and technical descents with altitudes usually in excess of 3000m.
The event is known for throwing in a few surprises to make it even more of a challenge. The exact route remains a secret until the start day when competitors receive the road book with stage details.
British rider Matt Page will be tackling the event for the first time, the Wiggle sponsored athlete who is the current UK and European 24-hour solo champion has picked the Ironbike as his first stage race and hopes to be classed as a finisher, which is a challenge in itself and something that only 50% of the starters manage to achieve. Matt will be riding his Rocky Mountain Element Team RSL bike and will be fuelled by Torq energy products.
“I am really excited to be doing my first stage race and I thought I’d go for the hardest one I could find. Not many people in the UK have heard of Ironbike, but everyone who has entered it seems to agree that it is the biggest challenge they have done. I simply want to finish the event, as I have no idea of what to expect.”
The event starts in Limone Piemonte, Italy on Saturday 23rd finishing in Sauze d’Oulx on Saturday 30th. Matthew will be providing updates after each day of racing and overall race progress can be followed through his twitter (@mattpage24) and the Ironbike website – www.ironbike.it