Celebrating one decade of Tour de Singkarak

Celebrating one decade of Tour de Singkarak

Illustration. A number of cyclists raced on stage IV of Tour de Singkarak 2017, on the shores of Lake Singkarak, Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, (ANTARA PHOTO/Iggoy el Fitra)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s most famous annual cycling race, the Tour de Singkarak (TdS), to be held in West Sumatra Province from Nov 4-11, marks its 10th anniversary this year.

Having the fifth largest audience in the world, TdS has enjoyed worldwide fame and attracted many top international cyclists to compete.

TdS is classified by the Union Cycling International (UCI) as a 2.2 category race, and has enjoyed recognition by the Amouri Sport Organization (ASO).

On Oct 22, 2018, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and Deputy Governor of West Sumatra Nasrul Abit officially launched a major promotion for the 2018 TdS in Jakarta, in the presence of mayors and district heads from West Sumatra`s municipalities and districts.

It was announced that this year`s theme for TdS is "One Decade for All". Also, the the promotional launch was enlivened by various traditional dances from West Sumatra.

The Tourism Ministry has included TdS, together with two other events from West Sumatra - the Sawahlunto International Music Festival (SIMFes) held Oct 19-21, and the Pagaruyung Festival to be organized Nov 29-Dec 2, in the National Tourism Calendar of Events 2018.

Minister Yahya expressed his optimism that TdS remains effective in promoting West Sumatra`s tourist destinations internationally.

West Sumatra received 56,313 foreign tourists and 6.5 million domestic tourists in 2017.

Twenty one cycling teams from 26 countries, including four domestic teams and one local team, will participate in the 2018 TdS, with total prizes worth Rp2.3 billion.

The foreign teams include Matrix Powertag of Japan, Trengganu Cycling Team of Malaysia, Sapura Cycling of Malaysia, Nex- CCN of Laos/The Netherlands, LX Cycling Team of Korea, 7-Eleven Cliqq of the Philippines, Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall of China, Qinghai Tiayoude of China, Java Partizan of Russia, St. George Continental of Australia, Forca Amskins of Malaysia, Interpro Stradalli Cycling of Japan, McDonalds Dawnunder of Australia, Thai Continental/Thai National Team of Thailand, PCS-CCN of Cambodia, and Bike Aid of Germany.

The Indonesian teams include KFC Racing Team, Advan CCC, PGN Cycling Team and Brcc, while the local team is Padang Road Bike (PRB) sponsored by Bank Nagari.

Inspired by the 200-year-old Tour de France, the TdS was first organized as part of the recovery program following a powerful earthquake that devastated West Sumatra in 2009, in a bid to boost the tourism industry through a sports-based promotional activity.

The world-class TdS event takes renowned international cyclists on an exciting tour across the picturesque West Sumatra countryside`s scenic landscapes, comprising beaches, blue lakes, and numerous hairpin bends, as they climb up to the foot of the volcanoes.

Its race track this year is extended to 1,267 kilometers (km), from 1,250 km in the previous year.

The race track has been extended, but its stages have decreased, according to Ony Yulfian, head of the West Sumatra tourism office.

This year, TdS is made up of eight stages, from nine in 2017, as the districts of Mentawai, Padang Pariaman, and West Pasaman will not participate in the event.

The 2018 TdS route covers 16 districts and cities.

The first stage of TdS is Bukittinggi-Sijunjung, stretching 140.5 km. The start from Bukittinggi will be on November 4, 2018.

The second stage, beginning Nov 5, will start in Sawahlunto and end in Dharmasraya, covering a total distance of 204.1 km.

The third stage is Singkarak-Tanah Datar, stretching 150.4 km, on Nov 6, while the 144-km-long fourth stage covers Padang-Agam; the fifth stage is Limapuluh Kota-Pasaman, 170.5 km; sixth stage is Solok-Payakumbuh, 105 km, on Nov 9; and seventh stage is Padangpanjang-South Solok, 194.4 km, on Nov 10.

The final stage is from South Pesisir to Pariaman, stretching 158 km, to be held on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Solok, which will host the sixth stage of TdS, has been busy with preparations for TdS, by conducting road repairs and providing accommodation and modes of transportation.

The preparations have reached some 85 percent completion, said Elvy Basri, head of the Solok tourism office.

"To welcome TdS, we are repairing damaged roads and sidewalks, as well as other public facilities," she noted.

Preparations have been made through cooperation among relevant ministries, including the public works, public housing ministry and transportation ministry, as well as hotel owners and travel agents.

A day prior to the race, Solok will hold a city tour event for the participants of TdS. The city tour will take them through Laing Park, Pulai Belibis, Syekh Kukut Park, Solok rice fields, and Solok Water Park, among other areas.

Traditional dances and culinary arts of Solok will also be showcased for TdS participants.

Editing by Andi Abdussalam