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More than 1100 participants across all the categories, including the Gran Fondo events, are expected to compete in the 5th edition of the Tour de Bintan, kicking off with a 12km opening prologue on the 8th November. They will race on the tropical Bintan Island over 269km and three days with the Nirwana Gardens Beach Resort as the place for riders to un-wind in between stages.
Over the last five years, Tour de Bintan has seen phenomenal growth in participants as a result of the huge cycling boom in Asia. The Tour de Bintan in conjunction with Nirwana Gardens Resort and the Indonesian Tourism board have put on a fantastic event that showcases Bintan as an ideal destination for cycle tourism with large events put on by Metasport. For many riders, this is the biggest event of the year and thus many have been training and peaking for Tour de Bintan.
Without 2012 defending champion, DirectAsia.com’s Colin Robertson, taking to the start-line due to illness, this year’s 2013 edition is thrown wide open with several good contenders for the overall win in the elite event including 2012 runner-ups Peter Hope and Tjarco Cuppens (Lapierre Asia Cycling Team). The Lapierre Asia Cycling team returns with a larger team and will be riding for their two key contenders.
The Specialized Confero Mavericks, fresh of their Tour of Matabungkay demolition look to be a serious contender to win the overall title with German rider Bastian Dohling spear-heading the team along with the ever consistent experienced Adam Taylor-Campbell. The Confero Mavericks are also further bolstered with the addition of young Singapore talent Yi-Peng Teoh and UK rider Nicholas Swallow.
Team DirectAsia.com, a dominant force in 2012, is back with a team of eight riders and without their key man Robertson. However, Kiwi rider Mark Cook, 4th overall at Tour of Matabungkay, is returning to form and will be their man to punch out a good opening prologue time. With a strong line up of riders including Mike Maiers (recently placed a strong 2nd overall at the Tour de Desaru), Rich Smerin, Dave Barr and Mark Scoular. Depending on who takes the fastest time in the opening prologue, will dictate the team strategy. According to team manager Rob Lamb, “Our team is ready for a good fight at Bintan and I believe the Confero Mavericks have a strong group of riders and proved they’re riding extremely well as a team at the Tour de Matabungkay. They are definitely the team to beat and the favorite for the overall race.” Lamb also states, “This race always surprises me every year and an underdog or an unknown rider can always exploit the parcours to his advantage.” On the Tour de Bintan event: “The Tour de Bintan has become a premiere event due to organisation, competition and accomodation. All three of these items ensure a great event that’s tough, but also provides a platform so riders can recover from tough daily efforts.”
Phenomenal Japanese climber, Kyosuke Takei (Team FORZA) will also be lining up and without the support of a team, Takei would one of the dark horses for the overall title as he is known for his attacking style of riding and will be one rider to watch in the breakaway. Specialized rider, Taylor Price has been quietly building form this year as a super-domestique for his China-based Specialized team, helping their star Chinese rider to win the 2013 Shanghai Trek Series. Taylor finished 9th in last year’s Saxo Prologue and could be an overall contender if his form peaks and has the right support from a couple of riders in the peloton, including Angus Wippell fresh from competing in Ironman.
In the women’s event it is also shaping up to be an exciting contest, with a good sized field of 32 riders to tackle the three-day event with Specialized Confero Mavericks Serene Lee and Veronique Florizoone as two of the favorites to win the 2013 title. Christina Lieu and Wendy Yap (JoyRiders) will be serious contenders to topple the 2012 defending champion Florizoone. Vietnam-based American Tina Haugbro, is also another contender and packs a fearsome sprint that the Nirwana Gardens hill-top finish will suit.
Aside from the competitive road racing, there will be three Gran Fondos for riders to participate in; for riders looking for a challenge without the racing focus these are great events. Riders have the choice of three distances, The Double (250km), The Classic (150km) or The Challenge (82km). The focal point of the Gran Fondo events for most of the cyclists will be about completing the “Big Ride” over 250km!
Another note of interest is the attendance of Saxo Bank Japanese professional rider, Takashi Miyazawa as an ambassador of Tour de Bintan. There is a chance the pocket rocket Miyazawa will race the prologue to keep everyone on their toes, however he will not be racing in the overall event. He is likely to join the Singapore Saxo Capital Market Corporate team on some of their rides on Bintan Island.
The finish of both road race stages will again be at the top of the hill outside the Nirwana Gardens Resort.
For more event information, visit TourdeBintan.com
About Tour de Bintan
The 2013 edition of the Tour de Bintan remains an epic cycling challenge in a high-quality cycling environment on the beautiful Bintan island, only a short ferry ride from Singapore. It is an event that started in 2009 informally and in 2010 it became known at the Tour de Bintan,
In recent years, cycling has really taken off in South East Asia with thousands of amateur cyclists taking to the roads every weekend. Tour de Bintan presents an epic challenge for competitive amateurs with a 3-stage tour and an ultimate cycling experience for novice riders with the increasingly popular Gran Fondo events.
MetaSport has a proven track record of organizing the high quality multi-sport events in South East Asia. This is reflected in the continued growth of MetaSport events year after year, with 19% growth so far in 2013.