In a spectacular start under the crystal clear mountains of Torres del Paine, the 2011 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race began with a wild ride for the racers as they tailed a herd of horses down the dirt track on the opening cycling leg of the event.
Cheered on by crowds of intrigued tourists in the Torres del Paine National Park, race director Stjepan Pavicic waved off the event as bright sunshine made the area look at its spectacular best - but the teams were bemoaning the sunshine as temperatures rose towards 20 degrees Celsius.
The teams face a 60km ride on the dirt tracks of the park, passing over three bridges and enjoying fantastic views of the Torres and Cuernos del Paine.
It will be a tough start for the racers, who were clad in light clothes as they tried to cope with the beautiful sunshine and many set off at a gentle pace, realizing that they should not push too hard on the opening leg of this 617km race.
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