15 editions, 15 moments to remember

October 15 th 2019 - 10:30

For the last 15 years Morocco has been the real star of the Garmin Titan Desert. Fifteen editions that will go down in history for many reasons, some of them summarized below:

2006: The start of a great adventure

Juan Porcar signalled the start of the first Garmin Titan Desert. 143 adventurers took part along 281 kilometres over 4 stages. The first winners were Pedro Vernis (15:36:29) and Amparo Ausina (18:18:03). 139 participants made it to the finish.

2007: The desert floods

For the second edition of the event, 283 Titans lined up at the start in Maadid. This race had one more stage than the previous edition, and was characterized by the heavy rains that fell in the first few days and obliged the organizers to change the route, cancelling one of the stages. The race had top-grade cyclists like Melcior Mauri and Abraham Olano taking part.

2008: A new guest along the route: the dunes

Undoubtedly, the third edition of the event was the one that marked its maturity. The race had become well-known worldwide and attracted both professionals and amateurs. In this edition, the Titans took on the feared dune sections for the first time in the race’s history and Roberto Heras took his first victory in the event.

2009: The beginning of solidarity actions

From the first edition, the race has always wanted to show its gratitude to the host country, Morocco. In 2009, and taking advantage of the passage of the event through Tazenakht, it collaborated with Fundación Repsol and its project “Volver a Vivir” (live again), which took 300 chairs, crutches, and tricycles to Morocco for the benefit of disabled people living in the area around Erfoud.

2010: Stage 5, one of the hardest in history

The 480-km route from Maadid to Ouarzazate considerably increased the toughness of the stages and the number of timed kilometres, and two spectacular high mountain stages were completed. It was a race of contrasts that covered many kinds of terrain: from the dunes of Erfoud to the fast tracks of Ouarzazate and the stony tracks in the southern part of the Atlas mountain range. Stage 5 from Boumalne Dades to Toundut proved to be the hardest in the history of the race.

2011: The Titan leaves Morocco for the first time, with the finish in Granada (Spain)

In 2011 the last of the six stages was held in Spain. After the start in Erfoud and 5 stages in Morocco, the Titans crossed to Spain to complete the sixth stage between Abla and Granada.

2012: Roberto Heras wins for the 4th time

At 38 years of age, Roberto Heras made history in the event by becoming a four-time winner. After his wins in 2008, 2010 and 2011, he came home first in the Garmin Titan Desert 2012

2013: The event attracts media attention worldwide

The eighth edition of the Garmin Titan Desert consolidated itself as one of the toughest Mountain Bike stage race on the planet. It was already well-known all over the world, the proof being in the media interest in the event on the five continents. The Portuguese cyclist Luis Leao Pinto became the first foreign rider to win the event.

2014: The bar is raised with the new navigation stage

In 2014 a stage was introduced in which navigation was the big challenge for the participants. In the one known as the ‘Garmin stage’ there were no route markings and the participants had to guide themselves with their GPS and the roadbook to find the waypoint markers, the hydration points and the finish line. It was the longest Titan in history, with 700 timed kilometres.

2015: The event celebrated its 10th anniversary with another record participation

The 2015 edition put the cherry on its 10th birthday cake with a record number of riders. More than 600 took on the 600+ km route with the start and finish in Maadid.

2016: The event travels to the Moroccan Middle Atlas mountain range

For the first time in its history, the Titan discovered the territory of Ifrane, known as the “Switzerland of Morocco”. Located in the Middle Atlas mountains, the cold and the high mountains were the main features of the first two stages of the race, in which the Titans rode through the forests and mountains of this spectacular area.

2017: Back to the roots

As the 2016 edition of the race discovered the Ifrane area in the Middle Atlas of Morocco, with the mountains as the main feature, the 2017 edition recalled its origins by concentrating the six stages of the race in Errachidia, the desert area in south-west Morocco. The desert was the big star of the edition.

2018: Record number of women entries

2018 will go down in the history of the event for being the one with most women participants. 69 of them took the start, with 67 managing to finish the Garmin Titan Desert. This was one of the pending issues for the race organizers, although an authentic female revolution was seen in the desert race in 2018. Historically, and despite not having a high number of participants in this category, the lady bikers showed an excellent competitive level.

2019: The example of Álex Roca

Suffering from cerebral palsy and 76% physical disability, Álex Roca took on the challenge last year. The left side of his body is paralyzed (he is not stable on the bike, which is why he took part with a tandem) and he cannot speak, so he communicates by sign language. After having to drop out of the race in 2018 due to dehydration, last year he fulfilled his dream of becoming a Titan by completing the 6 stages of the event. Josep Betalú equalled Roberto Heras’ record number of wins. 

2020: It’s your turn, make the Garmin Titan Desert your magic moment

In 2020 the Garmin Titan Desert will reach its 15th anniversary. Write your own adventure and live your magic moment.

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