Everything the (cycling) heart desires
May 23, 2022
Superlative at the 4th edition of the ultra bike race next Friday and Saturday: In addition to a record field of starters it is top-class starterfield. With the 6-time Race Across America winner and RAN course record holder Christoph Strasser and Elena Roch, the two title defenders will be at the start in Weitra on May 27, 2022. They will face strong competitors from five nations. Among others, three-time Olympic luge champion Felix Loch (GER) will be taking on an unfamiliar terrain, taking on the challenge in a 3-man team and pedaling for a good cause. 600km and 6000 breathtaking meters of altitude along the border of the diverse landscape of Lower Austria are waiting for everybody.
Weitra becomes the center of the (ultra) cycling scene
Within a very short time, the race has become a fixed point of the ultra cycling scene. For the second time after 2020 (category solo) the Austrian Cycling Federation gives its trust to the race. In 2022, the Austrian Championships in the 2-man team will be held for the first time. In addition, the race is a qualifier event for the prestigious Race Across America since this year. With more than 200 athletes, who will start on May 27th from 4:00 pm from the new spectacular start stage over the entire town hall square in Weitra, a record number of participants has been achieved once again.
First and foremost, with the 6-time Race-Across-America winner, the two-time defending champion and course record holder Christoph Strasser will once again be at the start. “On Saturday we will know whether he will succeed again in the race. He will have to deal with strong competition with Robert Müller (GER), Sebastian Michetschläger, Manuel Geyer, Dominik Meierhofer or a Martin Bendszus (GER)”, the organizer duo Georg Franschitz and Christian Troll are looking forward to. If Josef Aigner, since two weeks the new world record holder (unofficial) for the most driven kilometers in one week, will be able to compete for the places remains to be seen. While the Lower Austrian Philipp Kaider unfortunately had to cancel due to a herniated disc in the men’s race, the 4th edition can also count on the course record holder in the women’s race. Elena Roch tore her cruciate ligament in January, but was fit again in time. The Austrian Ultra Championships will be held this year in the 2-person team and the CLR Sauwald Cofain 699 club will take on this challenge with two teams. In 17h 05 min they were able to bring the victory to Upper Austria last year. Strong competition for the victory, however, they will get from one of the best ultra cyclists ever. The Slovenian Marko Baloh (in 2019 he was among others second at the RAAM) will start in the 2-person team.
Olympic champion swaps luge for road bike for good cause
This year again, several solo starters and teams will compete in their race for a charitable cause. One of them is the three-time Olympic and 13-time World Champion in luge, Felix Loch (GER), who will swap his luge for a racing bike. He will start with a 3-man team (for more see link at the end).
“Finally social program”
But not only the protagonists will be in the center of attention. Everything revolves in and around the city around the theme of the wheel. After the covid restrictions of the last years, the medieval arena-like town square will be bubbling this year. A great supporting program will be offered to the spectators. Between the individual starting waves, the young TRIALTEAM Heinrichs will provide a show performance. In addition, the team of Injoy Gmünd/Zwettl will heat up the audience before the start of the fastest solo riders and at the ergometer challenge the visitors can try to beat the course record (currently 16h 55min) on two ergometers. Kilometers can be collected on Friday from 15:30 to 21:00 and on Saturday from 12:00 until the 600km are reached. Great prizes are waiting for the participants!
“Every participant and every team is our focus and gets the ‘one minute of fame’ with us. With start, finish and even in the middle interview at the new fan zone at Semmering. This year we are happy to be able to give everyone a proper welcome in Weitra and are looking forward to many spectators”, say the organizers.
Livestream and tracking
The race will also be livestreamed and can be followed from anywhere. Many top guests will provide interesting insights into and around the race. The athletes can also be followed via live tracking. Starting Thursday, all information will be available at www.ran-bike.at.
Especially in the area of Weitra/Gmünd there will be increased traffic around the start times on Friday (16:00 to about 22:00), because the cyclists will be accompanied by a support car. The passage through the city center of Weitra is not possible at this time. From Saturday afternoon onwards, there will again be an increased volume of traffic. The finishers are expected to arrive at 12:30 pm.
Schedule 4th Race Around Lower Austria
15:00 Start program town hall square Weitra (with ergometer join-in challenge)
15:45 Start live broadcast (www.ran-bike.at or www.sportlandnoe.tv)
16:00 Start single rider group 1
(over 26 h estimated race time)
17:30 Start single rider group 2
(22,5 to 26 h estimated race time)
18:30 Show performance TRIALTEAM Heinrichs
19:00 Start single riders group 3
(under 19,5 to 22 h estimated race time)
19:20 h warm-up with INJOY Zwettl/Gmünd
19:45 Start single riders (up to 19,5 h estimated race time)
20:00 Start 2-person teams
21:10 Start 3-person teams
from approx. 05:30 am Videopoint Semmering with interviews of the participants
from approx. 13:00 hrs finish in Weitra and start of the program (with Ergometer-Mitmach-Challenge)
22:00 h Finish
Numbers, data and facts
Race Around Lower Austria (RAN)
Start/finish location: Weitra
Date: May 27/28, 2022
600 km with 6,000 meters of altitude non-stop clockwise around Lower Austria