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Innsbruck is gearing up to earn the ultimate Bike City of Europe crown this season – with a series of world-class races on the cards.

First up, this month is the Tour of the Alps (April 16th-20th). Now in its second year, Chris Froome will take up the challenge to claim a second Team Sky win – following in the footsteps of inaugural race winner Geraint Thomas.

The five-day race, which is broadcast on more than 100 television stations, takes in 716.9km and 13,100m of altitude over ten categorised climbs and will see Froome battling Fabio Aru and Thibaut Pinot for the podium in this Giro d’Italia warm up.

And for Team Sky it will be their first opportunity to scope out elements of the UCI Road World Championship course, which will be hosted in Innsbruck from September 22nd-30th.

The Tour of the Alps‘ final leg, on April 20th, is the longest stage of the competition and is 164.2km overall. Setting off from Austria’s smallest city Rattenberg, the race will finish at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Innsbruck Old Town, which will also be the finishing line for World Championships in five months time.

Spectators will be able to visit the festival area at the venue, which will include a DJ, food trucks and the award ceremony.

The final stage of the event will give the elite racers their first experience of parts of the World Championship time trial course.

The initial 55km run along the Inn to Brixlegg is the first categorised climb of the day, where the roads start rising to the Alpbachtal – 8.3km uphill at a 6.4 per cent average gradient.

Following the long downhill back to the valley, another ascent starts at Gnadenwald – previewing the opening part of the Elite UCI Road World Championships’ course, with several further gruelling climbs leading to the city centre for the 6km World Championship circuit finale.

A memorial ceremony will be held for Michele Scarponi at the finishing area, with the racers expected to complete the race between 2pm-3pm.

To see all the action, there are direct flights to Innsbruck from major UK airports and the city centre is just minutes away.

For more information on the unique Alpine, urban and imperial attractions that make Innsbruck a must-see city for cyclists, visit http://www.innsbruck.info/en or https://www.bikecity-innsbruck.com/en/