Red Bull X-Alps 2019 lifts off in Salzburg

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

32 athletes get the 1,138km Red Bull X-Alps race underway.

Under threat of thunderstorms, 32 athletes from around the world set off from Salzburg, Austria on the biannual Red Bull X-Alps adventure race today. Here is all you need to know:

– The destination is the blue waters of Monaco. On their way they must hit 13 turn points and some of the highest peaks and passes of the Alps across Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.

– The start gun fired at Salzburg’s Mozartplatz at 11.30am CEST and athletes set off through the old city to cheering crowds, curious onlookers and the sound of church bells. Their sightseeing tour through the old town was quickly over however as they crossed the Salzach river and began the gruelling ascent of 1,282m turn point 1, the Gaisberg.

– The first athlete to reach the summit was Maxime Pinot of France in a time of 1h 05m 50s.

– Following quickly on his heels, just 24 seconds behind, was the Austrian local hero Paul Guschlbauer. In third place was Guschlbauer’s compatriot Simon Oberrauner.

– Earlier in the day there had been some doubt whether athletes would be able to fly from the summit due to the risk of thunderstorms, but in front of hundreds of supporters and fans, the athletes flew off to turn point 2 at Wagrain-Kleinarl.

– Ulrich Grill, race organiser, said: “What these athletes are undertaking is one of the world’s greatest adventures. Crossing the Alps only by foot or paraglider from Salzburg to Monaco is an incredible performance, demanding not just physical endurance but mental strength. It’s the perfect challenge of body and mind. It’s going to be an exciting race.”

– Athletes spent the pre-race week in Wagrain-Kleinarl, which hosted the Prologue on Thursday. Earliest predictions could see the first athletes make the mountain resort later this afternoon. From there, they’ll turn around and head north-west to Aschau-Chiemsee in Germany.

–Helmut Schrempf of Austria, Kaoru Ogisawa of Japan and Benoît Outters of France have all pulled their night passes and are now allowed to travel through the night. Outters earned a second night pass by winning Thursday’s Prologue, which he can use later in the race.

To find out more and follow the action live, click HERE.

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