Start of the Dolomite Man 2008
On Saturday, September 6th 2008, the world's most gruelling mountain sports team competition will be started for the 21st time at Lienz in the Austrian part of the Dolomite Alps.
The members of 110 teams will first fight their way running uphill to the summit, then glide fast as the wind through the air, paddle through white water, and finally pedal their mountain bikes like mad. This battle royal pits the best and most daring alpine runners, paragliders, kayakers and mountain bikers against one another. This year's contest for the inestimably valuable title of the "Dolomite Man 2008" will soon begin! Amateurs and pros alike start at this relay contest to win the prizes for the fastest participants in the single disciplines and in the team contest.
As in previous years, the 2008 course demands the utmost from the very beginning. After crossing the starting line at the main square in Lienz, the alpine runners will run eleven kilometers along one of the world's toughest alpine stretches. They'll cross rocks and gravel, ascend by steps cut into the cliff or by wooden bars pinned into the ground, huff and puff up steep alpine slopes and across talus slopes. They'll overcome more than 1,950 meters difference in altitude until they reach the finish line at Kühbodentörl (2,441 m).
The challenge for the paragliders begins at Kühbodentörl, where they'll run across a narrow catwalk to reach the starting place, from which they'll take off and soar high above the mighty Lienzer Dolomites. But "just flying" wouldn't be a challenge for the toughest man under the sun, so they will have to land at Moosalm, carry dozens of square metres of fabric on their shoulders, and walk 200 meters uphill to the second starting place.
At the finish in Leisach, they will then pass the baton to the kayakers, who will warm up for their ride with a daredevil six-meter starting leap, followed by a portage, a tricky rolling traverse and plenty of wild whitewater full of extreme upward zones and perilous turns. The battle between kayaks and whitewater will continue for five long kilometers. The water often wins! But for the teams whose paddlers conquer the water and make it all the way to Tiroler Bridge, the final stage is about to begin.
A tough 17.4-kilometre uphill ride with 1,695 metres difference in altitude awaits the mountain bikers. Dismounting is unavoidable, because the extremely demanding terrain forces them to dismount, put their bikes over their shoulders and run over some of the toughest passages. Afterwards, the riders whiz down the notorious FIS Men's Downhill slope, with an average gradient of 26.4%, and race toward the finish line at Lienz.
With Jonathan Wyatt (NZL), Marco Gaiardo (ITA), Andrezej Dlugosz (POL) and Robert Krupicka (CZE) as well as the strong locals Markus Kroell and Robert Stark (AUT), the complete world cup elite of the alpine runners will be at the start.
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