624.8 kilometers, 6,300 meters cumulative elevation gain, three countries in four days and 22 participants: Employees and friends of the OMV Schwechat Refinery cycled along the route of the Adria-Wien pipeline and the Transalpine pipeline from Schwechat to Trieste. On the trail of the crude.
“It’s all in the preparation”, of that, Andreas Steinwender, employee in the OMV Schwechat Refinery, is sure. For weeks he spent every free moment finding the perfect route for him and his OMV colleagues. A cycle route that broadly follows the Adria-Wien pipeline (AWP) to Carinthia and then takes the Transalpine pipeline (TAL)—the “lifelines” of the Schwechat Refinery. The goal: Trieste oil terminal.
“The Group was very harmonious; the stronger cyclists took care of the weaker ones. We rode together as a team. Without envy, without arguments, without fights or cramps. It was a fantastic thing to experience.”
Initiator of the OMV Giro d'AWP
After weeks of planning with his cycling buddies with pre-runs of the route and local inspections of the accommodation, the ideal route finally emerged: 624.8 km from Schwechat to Trieste, including 6,300 meters cumulative elevation gain, all in just four days. “The route takes us past all sorts of historical sites—the Carnuntum – Vindobona area alone, then the Isonzo Valley—these are places with an incredibly rich history. But that was of little interest to most of the cyclists”, grinned Andreas Steinwender. The fact that the route runs along the pipeline that supplies crude to the OMV Schwechat Refinery was more important to the team. The Adria-Wien pipeline, which goes from Schwechat to Würmlach (in Carinthia) and then branches off to the Transalpine pipeline, which runs to the port in Trieste.
The results of all this preparation practically resemble a (written) manifest: His Roadbook is 54 pages long and contains every detail of the tour, the altitude profiles of the stages, maps, participant lists, accommodation, and many more. The template used was nothing less than the official Roadbook of the Tour de France.
The 22 people taking part in the cycle tour were a broad mix: OMV employees from the Schwechat Refinery and head office in Vienna, friends, acquaintances, relatives and even three AWP employees from Carinthia. The latter also refused to miss out on starting the tour from Schwechat. All came together as one to cycle in the OMV jersey—team sports truly bring people together.
Team spirit: Trusting together
At the end of the day, team building is a key aspect of the project—encouraging mutual trust and spending time as a team. Ultimately, they did spend considerable time together in the saddle: A total of 25.4 hours.
A major element was not just the mutual care, but the strict discipline of every participant: Breakfast at 7 am, in the saddle at 8.30 am. The team spirit paid off. “The stronger cyclists took care of the weaker ones, letting them slipstream. No-one had to travel in the tour bus because of exhaustion or any other problem; there wasn’t a single injury. All of the participants made it through every stage on their bikes and crossed the finish line together”, said an impressed Frank van Bommel, who also participated at the tour. He and Andreas Steinwender enthusiastically tell us about the adventures of the four days they shared together on the road.
Except for a broken wheel bearing and a burst tire, there was nothing negative to report. Whereby the stages were really something: On the first day the 22 participants had to tackle 154 km and conquer 1,600 meters cumulative elevation gain. The second day was just as tough with 162 km and altitudes of 2,300 meters. Before the final in Italy, Andreas Steinwender chose what he defined as a “relaxation stage” of 111 km with around 1,600 meters altitude. On the last leg the 22 OMV cyclists not only had to conquer the steep Predil and cumulative elevation gain of 2,100 meters, they also had to cover the longest distance of almost 170 km. But the team stuck together—neither rain nor temperatures of below 10°C could stop the team.
After four hard days, the cyclists were welcomed in Trieste by a delegation from OMV and TAL; in the villages along the way they had already often been cheered on by fans. At the final celebration, first ideas are already emerging for the next tour of the OMV Racing Team in the coming year.
By the way, the crude takes three days to reach the OMV Schwechat Refinery via the TAL from Trieste to Würmlach and then on through the AWP. The OMV cyclists managed it in just over a day (net cycling time).
The Transalpine Pipeline (https://www.tal-oil.com/de) runs from Trieste via Ingolstadt to Karlsruhe and is a critical pipeline for supplying the refineries in Austria and Southern Germany. It pumps crude from the Adria in the north across a total length of 753 km.
The Adria-Wien Pipeline (http://www.omv.at/portal/01/at/awp ) is a pipeline that branches off from the TAL in Würmlach (Carinthia) in the direction of Schwechat. On the 420 km to Lower Austria the pipeline climbs a total of 12,000 meters of total altitude, passing through 8,000 plots and 93 boroughs.