There is little doubt that after the inaugural 2013 Tour of Sufferlandria, the race firmly established itself as one of the most difficult Grand Tours in the world. In response, some races have attempted to make their routes more difficult, while others seem to have given up — creating less inspiring and easier routes in order to attract those who aren’t up to the Tour of Sufferlandria challenge.
With thousands of participants pushing themselves to the limit in order to complete the 9-day event last year, race director and Sufferlandrian local hero, Grunter Von Agony, again had the task of creating a truly challenging and inspiring route. “Lava. Na, ja, obvious we had to include a visit to Mt. Sufferlandria and the lava fields,” said GvA at the official route presentation. “But, please, lava alone does not make bike race difficult. Although we not visit all corners of Sufferlandria, we have route that with strong emphasis on PAIN, MISERY and AGONY. Despair will also feature, yes, and too so hopelessness. For the strong, many, many opportunities for COURAGE appear across route.”
Ensuring the route lived up to its ‘EPIC’ billing, GvA enlisted the help of American Racing Legends Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter Phinney as Honorary Race Directors. “Davis and I have had our share of suffering and some epic races,” said Connie. “Davis raced over the Gavia pass in the snow with Andy Hampsten and Bob Roll in the 1988 Giro d’Italia. He suffered extreme heat exhaustion in the 1990 Tour de France but soldiered on to the finish in Paris. Davis is a two-time Tour de France stage winner and we both raced – and medaled – before a captive audience of almost half a million people in the 1984 Olympics but nothing — NOTHING! — compares to the Tour of Sufferlandria.”