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The world's longest bike race covering 9,200 km across Siberia

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Pedal power challenge as the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme ultra-stage bicycle race heads from Moscow to Vladivostok, reported Siberian Times.

Ten riders set out from Moscow on 5 July for the gruelling longest bicycle stage race in the world. The epic 9,200 kilometre (5,716 mile) route will last 24 days in 14 stages to reach the Russian Pacific coast on 28 July.

The stages vary in length from 300 km to 1,400 km across five climate zones, seven time zones, the Ural Mountains and four of the longest rivers in the world.

Participants will ride along the borders of Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China, covering a total of 79,000 metres of ascent.

The solo riders are Andreas Fuchs (Austria), Eduard Fuchs (Austria), Pascal Pich (France) and Alexey Shebelin (Russia). Duo riders are: Martin Temmen and Matthias Fischer (Germany), Evgeniy Borisov and Leonid Krasnov (Russia), and Mikhail Manyachin and Roman Markaryan (Russia).

Guide through stages

Stage 1: Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod
Distance: 429km
Elevation range: 122m

The first stage of the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme utlra-marathon race is the Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod route. Athletes will have to ride 418km along the M-7 'Volga' federal highway, which runs parallel to Europe's longest river, the Volga.

Stage 2: Nizhny Novgorod – Kazan
Distance: 391km
Elevation range: 154m

Stage two will go through the next section of M-7 federal highway along the Volga River. Athletes will ride across the Nizhny Novgorod region, and the Chuvashia and Tatarstan Republics, seeing many architecturally unique Russian cities and towns, all steeped in history and surrounded by picturesque landscapes.

Stage 3: Kazan – Perm
Distance: 693km
Elevation range: 212m

The amateur and professional bike riders will face a difficult third stage, travelling over 693km and going through three Russian regions – Tatarstan, Udmurtia and Perm Krai. On their way they'll be crossing more than 40 rivers.

Stage 4: Perm – Yekaterinburg
Distance: 331km
Elevation range: 342m

The route will follow the P-242 federal highway through the cities, towns and villages of the Perm and Sverdlovsk Region. On their way to the finish line of the stage in Yekaterinburg, athletes will cross the Europe-Asia border riding through the spectacularly scenic landscape of the Ural mountains.

Stage 5: Yekaterinburg – Tyumen
Distance: 319km
Elevation range: 219m

Despite its relatively short distance, this stage can hardly be described as easy. Riders will be tested by rough roads as they take the Yekaterinburg-Tyumen route along the federal P-354 highway, which is also known as the back-up road for the Siberian Highway.

Stage 6: Tyumen – Omsk
Distance: 619km
Elevation range: 83m

On this section of the road the cyclists will pass through a group of small, but fascinating Siberian cities: each one has its own ancient history and separate identity. The participants will have to cross about 15 rivers across the West Siberian Plain, while the climate will be changing as they travel further east.

Stage 7: Omsk – Novosibirsk
Distance: 619km
Elevation: 101m

Stage seven will be a night start; the participants will be able to enjoy the night views along the banks of the rivers of Irtysh and Om. Arriving in Russia's third-largest city, Novosibirsk, the next day to continue their route after a short rest.

Stage 8: Novosibirsk – Krasnoyarsk
Distance: 803km
Elevation: 316m

The eighth stage of the Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme race will start in Novosibirsk and finish in Krasnoyarsk. The large difference in elevation between the Kemerovo and Krasnoyarsk regions means a great diversity of local landscapes and the participants will see Siberia in all its splendour.

Stage 9: Krasnoyarsk – Irkutsk
Distance: 1,094km
Elevation range: 495m

The ninth stage is the second-longest of the race and will follow the Krasnoyarsk – Irkutsk route along the P-255 highway. Athletes will have to cross more than 20 rivers, including the mighty Yenisei and the beautiful Angara, and will ride through many cities and towns. Luckily they'll have the following day as a rest day, with time to explore Irkutsk before setting off again.

Stage 10: Irkutsk – Ulan-Ude
Distance: 447km
Elevation range: 578m

The route will be via the picturesque banks of the deepest freshwater lake on the Earth – Lake Baikal. The Baikal is the deepest, oldest, clearest, cleanest and the largest volume of fresh water in the world. Boasting the highest level of biodiversity, it's home to amazing flora and fauna, putting the lake on Unesco's World Natural Heritage List.

Stage 11: Ulan-Ude – Chita
Distance: 658km
Elevation: 623m

Athletes will continue their journey along P-258 'Baikal' federal route. A section of the route goes alongside a major river, Selenga, which makes its way to Lake Baikal through Russia and Mongolia. The elevation range on stage 11 is 623m, which should be a good warm-up for participants as they move on to the most demanding stage of the race, stage 12...

Stage 12: Chita – Svobodny
Distance: 1,372km
Elevation: 936m

The hardest stage of the whole race sees athletes riding 1,372.61km over two days. Kicking off in Chita and finishing in Svobodny in the Amur region. This town has an extreme climate with monsoons, swinging temperatures and heavy rainfall in summer. On top of this the athletes will have to face a new hurdle: the largest elevation change in the whole race – up to 936m!

Stage 13: Svobodny – Khabarovsk
Distance: 754km
Elevation range: 377m

Having tackled most of the elevation in the previous stage, athletes will be pleased to know that their route has less climbing today. Cycling along the P-297 Federal Highway, the route will start in Svobodny and finish in Khabarovsk.

Stage 14: Khabarovsk – Vladivostok
Distance: 765km
Elevation: 313m

The finish of this stage, and the whole race, will take place on June 28 in Vladivostok. The city, which sits on a peninsula sticking out into a gulf of the Sea of Japan, is the end of the line for the Trans-Siberian Railway and the final destination of Red Bull Trans-Siberian Extreme.

Read more at siberiantimes.com

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