An impressive landscape, spectacular roads almost 3,000 meters above sea level, 300 teams of two members, 250 kilometers and 32,000 meters of unevenness will give life to the fourteenth edition of the legendary Gore-Tex Transalpine Run. We are talking about one of the most prestigious stage races in the world and a pioneer in Europe. The program offers seven stages that are divided into three countries throughout an entire week in which the participants will start in one town and end in another, living in an atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie that perfectly defines the philosophy of trail running .
The tour will start in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Germany , to Bresanona, in the south of Tyrol, in Italy . The 'Eastern Route', as it is known, was completely redesigned in 2016 and has been further adapted to the demands of the 2018 TAR. This route will take participants to different peaks, gorges and glaciers from the aforementioned Garmisch-Partenkirchen German, to the end in Italy. Along the way participants will stop at Nassereith, Imst, Mandarfen Im Pitztal, Sölden, St. Leonhard and Sarentino. In short, the teams participating this year will have to cover a total of 258.5 km with 16,454 meters of vertical difference in ascent and 16,590 in descent.
The first stage starts from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Nassereith, and will cover 43.7 km with 2,378 meters of vertical difference in elevation and 2,239 in descent. The route will take athletes along the foot of the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany, and around the Wetterstein mountains.
The second stage will depart Nassereith for Imst, and will see participants in this year's edition of the TAR climb around 2,000 meters above sea level for the first time. This stage will only be 28.1 km long, but it will have no less than 1,914 meters of vertical difference in elevation and 1,734 in descent along the beautiful paths of the Starkenburger Panoramaweg.
With 47.9 km and some 3,000 vertical meters of climbing, the third stage from Imst to Mandarfen is the longest and hardest, precisely because it has mostly climbing areas. It is, without a doubt, the queen stage of this year's ART.
The fourth stage will start from Mandarfen and head towards Sölden and will go through the Pitztal valley to the neighboring Ötztal valley. This will be another relatively short stage, with only 28.1 km, but it will take the participating athletes to points close to 3,000 meters above sea level. Some of the highlights include a steep climb up to the Braunschweiger Hütte refuge, the passage through the Rettenbachjock gorge at 2,998 meters, and the passage through the Rettenbach glacier, in addition to the difficult descent to Sölden. This stage has 2,296 meters of vertical difference in ascent and 2,622 in descent.
On the fifth day the Sölden will start and the route will take the participants to the Italian border, specifically to St. Leonhard in Passeier. The total route will be 39.6 km with 2,286 meters of vertical difference in elevation and 2,956 in descent. Some of the obstacles that participants will encounter along the way include the Timmelsjoch mountain pass, at 2,474 m, and what appears to be the most spectacular area in all the history of the TAR, the Tönninger Hütte refuge.
The sixth stage , from St. Leonhard in Passeier to Sarentino, will have picturesque paths through the mountains of South Tyrol. This day will have a total of 34.2 km of route, with 2,524 m of vertical ascent and 2,223 of descent, which will take participants to the Obere Scharte gorge, at 2,683 m, where it will be the highest point of the day .
The seventh and last stage , 36 km, from Sarentino to Bresanona, with 2,118 meters of vertical difference in ascent and 2,532 in descent, will have a section 2,000 meters above sea level, just over 15 km from the start, that will take the participants to the valley where the test ends.