Planned fee for popular cycling route in Austrian Alps angers cyclists
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Planned fee for popular cycling route in Austrian Alps angers cyclists

by Bjorn Haake at 4:30 PM EST   comments
Categories: General, Advocacy
 
Five euro fee to ride up the Großglockner, featuring in this year's Giro d'Italia

The route to the Großglockner pass in the Austrian Alps is maintained by the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße AG (Grohag) and is planning to make money from the masses of cyclotourists who ride up every year. Grohag announced a fee of five euro (close to seven US dollar currently) per rider, between the times of nine in the morning to three in the afternoon.

The initiative of the Salzburg traffic platform (www.salzburger-verkehrsplattform.org) was quick to set up a website collecting signatures against the planned charge. In just a few days, over 2000 signatures have been gathered.

The Großglockner is popular both for recreational and training-oriented riders in Europe. It is also a popular choice for traveling cyclo tourists from all over the world.

The mountain itself is 3,798 meters (12460 feet), with the road peaking at 2,504 meters (8215 feet). It is frequently used in the Tour of Austria and the first rider of the pass is crowned the king of the Glockner (Glocknerkönig). The 2010 Glocknerkönig is no other than Riccardo Riccó, currently in the news for other reasons. The more popular route brings the riders up from the Northern side, where Christian Pfannberger holds the course record with his 47'20, achieved in 2007.

In 2011, the Großglockner will also return to the Giro d'Italia after a 40-year absence. The only other time when it was used in the Corsa Rosa was in 1971, when Pierfranco Vianelli won the mountain top finish. This year, the riders will go up from the southern end, ending at the peak called the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe. Luckily for the riders, this peak is only 1908 meters high. The stage is 159 kilometers long, starting from Spilimbergo.

Race organizer Angelo Zomegnan called it a crucial stage when he talked on Gazzetta TV. "This is the first of three truly important stages," he said. "The climb to the Großglockner is 13 kilometers long." The riders will face the infamous Monte Zoncolan a day later.

A one day event for the Glocknerkönig also takes place every year - the next one is on June 5, 2011. A year-round timing system has been set up between Ferleiten (1,145 meters) and Fuschertörl (2,428 meters). The system works with a ticket that is obtained at the lower station and put in a second reading machine on the top, for a fee of two Europe. Unfortunately, the system has been out of commission due to technical difficulties and it is not known when it will be working again.

People who wish to sign the resolution can do so here. The organizers told Velonation that a form in English should be available soon.

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