Lienz – Sillian
Mountain Passes: Staller Sattel
The TOUR Transalp 2023 enters new territory right at the beginning. We have never been to Lienz with this race before. Whereby? Old hands might remember the stop of the TOUR Trans Austria in Lienz. That was in 2006, so we have been here before, but not with the Transalp. However, the first two thirds of this starting stage are completely new, even for loyal TOUR racers. It leads into one of the large valleys of East Tyrol, the Defereggen valley. It’s digs its way into the mountains from east to west and creates access to the Hohe Tauern, whose peaks on its northern flank stretch more than 3,000 metres into the sky. A landscape experience of the honour category is on the programme right at the beginning. There is still a lot of nature to the right and left of the road, especially further back in the valley, when the valley head comes closer and closer. On the 35 kilometres from the entrance to the saddle, at an altitude of 2052 metres, there is plenty of time to gather impressions of the valley and the mountains around it. The size of this cut quickly proves to be an advantage, because the 1250 metres of this climb are so long that the road is discreetly restrained in its gradient percentages. At the Staller Sattel, the border to Italy is reached and on a narrow, winding road, the route first descends to the biathlon stadium in Antholz. Now the ride becomes brisker, the road wider - it leads rather straight out into the Pustertal, to Olang at the foot of the Kronplatz. Just now does the Transalp enter familiar terrain again. Side roads with little traffic take the participants away from the main traffic artery over a hill to Welsberg and briefly on the cycle path to Niederdorf. Only now does the route return to the wide state road, flat via Toblach and Innichen back to the border. Back in Austria, there are 4 kilometres left to complete the first stage in Sillian.