Vuelta Sudamericana, a four and a half month long transcontinental cycling race tour of South America, is one of the latest challenges launched by Toronto-based Tour d'Afrique, organizers of the namesake tour from Cairo to Cape Town and other long-distance cycling trips around the globe.
The inaugural Vuelta Sudamerica – currently the world's longest bicycle expedition and race – will start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on July 26 and finish in Quito, Ecuador on December 6, 2009, amidst Fiestas de Quito, the celebration of the city's founding date.
The inaugural tour, with 23 participants from eight countries, will cover 12,000 kilometers across Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador over 110 cycling days (and stages) averaging 110 km each day, plus 23 rest days and one travel day. It is divided into nine sections, allowing for participation of cyclists who can't do the whole expedition in one stretch.
Support includes trucks to transport the gear and equipment and a crew to prepare meals and set up camp.
Routes have been previously scouted and will take secondary roadways whenever possible. In a press release about the Vuelta, environmental activist and Tour d’Afrique founder Henry Gold said that "by meandering across the landscape and linking a variety of cultural and wilderness destinations, Vuelta Sudamericana has been designed to follow the most favorable patterns of wind, heat, precipitation and daylight."