Following the recently confirmed partnership between A.S.O. and RPM-MKTG to expand the Gaes Titan Desert by Garmin MTB stage race, the organising team note that ‘Never, since [the race’s] creation in 2006 has the Titan Desert welcomed this many competitors.’ Taking place on 29 April, the race is now sold out.
Over 600 mountain bikers, including riders Stéphane Diagana and Cadel Evans, will start the first of six stages that comprise this challenge at Boumalne Dadès in the mountains and deserts of Morocco. With its 619km of tracks and sand, and its six stages, more than 70 women will also take on the challenge, which is an event record.
Between the Atlas Mountains and the Merzouga Dunes, the organisers add that the stage race will be a merciless battle among the event favourites. Two-time winner of the Gaes Titan Desert by Garmin and defending champion, the 40-year-old Spaniard Joesp Betalú will once again make life difficult for the mountain biking professionals such Roberto Bou, who finished runner-up last year, and road racing stars Moises Dueñas, who has a stage victory on the Tour de l’Avenir, Julien Zubero and Manuel Beltrán, who was a team mate of Roberto Heras on the Vuelta a España and Tour de France.
The Gaes Titan Desert by Garmin will also welcome a few guest stars on the opening stage, which will be a 115km loop with more than 2000m of elevation gain in and around Boumalne Dadès. France will be represented by a very fit Stéphane Diagana who will come to test himself in the desert. The former World and European 400m hurdles champion will take on much bumpier tracks than those that took him to athletics glory. It will also be an all-new experience for the 2011 Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans from Australia.
In the women’s field, the battle also promises to be a heated contest between Anna Ramírez, who grew up racing on the road but who has already won twice in the Moroccan desert; Ramona Gabriel, who is back for her second go in the Gaes Titan Desert by Garmin; and 2017 Spanish marathon Mountain Bike champion, Natalia Fischer.
The organisers add that, in total, 22 nationalities will be represented on the 619 kilometres of mountain bike competition in the Moroccan desert with a format… ‘that mixes pure speed and navigation. Whether they are from Morocco, Australia, Ireland, France, Spain or Brazil, everyone will “ride” with the same ambition of becoming a Titan.’
Titan Desert by Garmin — key figures
- 6 stages totalling 619km through the Moroccan desert
- 5,500m of elevation gain
- 4,000 participants since the launch of the race
- 1 navigation stage
- 1 marathon stage over 120km long
- 612 cyclists representing 22 nationalities in 2018
- 1,000 people in the bivouac (participants, organisers, media and partners)
RPM-MKTG, a property of the Dentsu Aegis Network group since 2016, is a company with 40 years of experience organizing sports events of all kind. In addition to the Titan Desert by Garmin, RPM-MKGT organizes races such as the Zurich Maratón de Barcelona, the Garmin Team Trail and the Powerade Non Stop Series.