Welcome to the cutting-edge of uphill cycling
and world's most famous ascents of each of the continents
Swiss Alpen-Challenge takes place one week before the Ötztal Cycle Marathon and provides a long-distance tour comprehending 220 kilometers of distance and 4,000 meters of total altitude difference via Albulapass, Berninapass and Julierpass (Challenge-Tour). Additionally, there is a short alternative without Bernina providing for some 120 kilometers and 3,000 meters of altitude difference (Classic-Tour). However, the Classic-Tour with its key data can hardly be named a "marathon". Moreover, in 2010 the last part of the course was given some amendment thus providing in total "only" 2,500 meters of altitude difference. The Alpen-Challenge is one of the best organised events in the Alps: Organisation, course signs, refreshments and assistance by volunteers and security staff is at all times exemplary. Even potholes on the street are colour-marked !Start: Latsch/Lenz 1,320m
After departure in Latsch/Lenz there is a short descent to the village of Surava and afterwards a climb of 1,400 meters of altitude difference up to Albulapass (2,315m). Subsequently the cyclists have to go for 20 kilometers on a high-traffic road from La Punt smoothly uphill to Silvaplana at the bottom of Julierpass being almost as high as Albulapass (2.284m). After a 40 kilometers descent riders reach Tiefencastel and have finally to climb back to Latsch/Lenz via Surava.
Swiss Lenzerheide region welcomes its guests
More than 1,000 participants at the start in the morning.
At first a joint ride through Albula gorge...
...until first sunlight warms the participants.
View back from the ascent to Albulapass
Perfect weather conditions and some refreshements on Albula summit
The view from Albula peak towards Upper Engadin provides desire for the descent ride
The way from Albula to Julier routes via the village of St. Moritz
Eastern ramp up to Julier commences in Silvaplana
No serpentines but a long-winding uphill ride with power masts alongside the road
On top of Julierpass
Friendly locals on pass summit
Western ramp down to Bivio becomes newly asphalted in 2010 thus providing a partly graveled road
Looks like the Rocky Mountains, but only the lonesome way to Tiefencastel
Shortly before the finish three high-speed riders suddenly get ahead of me at his point: The leading top flight of Challenge-Tour! Wow: They had to challenge 100 kilometers more (including Berninapass) than me but reach the finish faster than I do
Pasta-Party at the finish. Due to temperatures of meanwhile 30 degrees Celsius the finishing riders look for shady places. Cheers!