Hossein Askari (Tabriz Petrochemical) from Iran won Stage I of Tour de Singkarak 2013 on the first day of the Tour on Sunday, 2 June, covering the 104 km distance from Bukittingi to Bonjol in West Sumatra, - a mountainous terrain - , in 2 hours 27 minutes and 5 seconds. Askari raced neck and neck with Oscar Pujol Munoz (Polygon Sweet Nice) from Spain, who came in a very close second.
Flagged off at exactly 11 am local time by Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, accompanied by Deputy Minister, Sapta Nirwandar and Governor of West Sumatra, the Tour de Singkarak (TDS) 2013 enters its fifth edition this year, participated by 147 cyclists from 21 teams. Stage I started at the Jam Gadang (large clock) at Bukittinggi with finish line of the first leg at the Equator Monument at Bonjol, in the district of East Pasaman.
Since the start in Bukittinggi, cyclists raced closely in groups until they faced the terrain that had many turns and bends and a long and steep downhill course. For specialist sprinters this is a favorite section providing a truly exciting spectacle for the thousands of onlookers lining the road. Cyclists continued the exhausting pace until reaching KOM (king of road) 34.5 km. at Nagari Nan Tujuh and 69.5 km. at Muaro Banguang.
For the last 3 kilometer sprint before reaching the Finish line, the two front racers, Iran’s Hossein Askari and Spain’s Oscar Pujol Munoz raced neck and neck. Until finally Hossein Askari of the Tabriz Chemical Cycling Team won first position, earning the yellow jersey as leader of the day’s race. Askari was also awarded the polka-dot jersey for winning the King of Mountain (climb) and the green jersey in the sprint category.
Runner-up was Spain’s Polygon Sweet Nice’ Oscar Pujol Munoz with a tiny difference of 7 seconds. Pujol Munoz is the defending champion of Tour de Singkarak 2012. Third position was held by another Tabriz cyclist, Alireza Ashgharzadeh following Pujol by 11 seconds behind.
For Indonesian racers, the red and white jersey was won by Bambang Suryadi of Tim Nasional (Timnas), Indonesia’s National Team. Bambang was only one of two Indonesian cyclist who made it into in the top 10 best performers, coming in at number 7, reaching the finish line recording a time of 2:28:57 hrs. While Robin Manulang came in at number 9, clocking 2:29:17 hrs.
In this First Stage, Iran’s Tabriz team came out best in team, clocking 2:23:58 hrs. The Polygon team came second with a small difference of 02:09 minutes, and Timnas Indonesia came third with a difference 03:51 minutes.
The Second Stage to be held on Monday, 3rd June will cover the distance from Payakumbuh to Lake Singkarak, covering a course of 124.5 kilometers, with twp KOMs at 759 meters and the second at 1,055 meters above sea level.
Tour de Singkarak 2013 start
Saturday evening, the Tour de Singkarak 2013 was launched with a loud bang and fascinating fireworks above Bukittingi’s Jam Gadang by the iconic Sianok Canyon. Loud cheers from participants and thousands of local inhabitants accompanied the fireworks.
Tour de Singkarak which comes under the auspices of Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) of France, has grown to become an internationally and recognized prestigious international cycling event based on West Sumatra’s spectacular natural, and cultural tourist attractions. This year’s Tour de Singkarak is the fifth time the race has been held since 2009. Taking place from 2-9 June 2013, the course covers 17 towns and subdistricts of West Sumatra, covering a total 1,027 km in 7 (seven) stages. .
A total of 16 continental teams are participating, selected by the International Cycling Federation (UCI), from 40 teams wishing to participate. This is a significant increase from the five teams participating in last year’s event.
Continental teams are a level below the pro-continental who participate in top level races like the Tour de France. For this reason TDS 2013 is expected to be even more exciting especially with the addition of new routes and brand new challenges. This Internationally ranked race offers total prizes of Rupiah 1.2 billion, up from last year’s Rupiah 740 million.
Racers come from 18 countries, among which are Japan, Iran, Spain, Singapore, Australia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kirgiztan, Russia, Taiwan, USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Brunei Darussalam.While continental teams participating also include the Action Cycling Team (Taiwan), Ayandeh Continental Team (Iran), Budget Forklifts (Australia), CCN Cycling Team (Brunei Darussalam), Global Cycling Team (the Netherlands), National Team of Japan, and Terengganu Pro Asia Cycling Team (Malaysia).
Tour de Singkarak is organized jointly by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the provincial government and district governments of West Sumatra, the Indonesian Cycling Sport Association (PB ISSI). And since 2011, TDS involved the Tour de France Organizers, the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) based in France. The Organization is expert in international sports events since 1903, organizing among others the Tour de France, the Paris-Dakkar rally and the Paris Marathon.
ASO President, Jean Etienne Amaury, was himself present this year in West Sumatra.
Daihatsu Official Team Car
For the third time the Daihatsu car was selected as Official Team Car for this year’s TDS. The company handed 48 cars to the organizers, comprising 25 Gran Max and 23 Xenias. The handing over ceremony took place at the West Sumatra Governor’s office in Padang.
Source: www.indonesia.travel eyewitness report
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