Bad weather in the current rainy season has become a real challenge because downpours are expected to fall in several regions along the route of TdS, which is being held from Nov 4 to 11, 2018, in West Sumatra Province.
The West Sumatra provincial capital of Padang, in fact, was flooded on Nov 2, 2018, killing two children, destroying two bridges, and submerging some 1.4 thousand homes in seven sub-districts.
Deputy Governor of West Sumatra, Nasrul Abit, concurrently chairman of the TdS 2018 organizing committee, officiated the TdS 2018 in Kantin Square, Bukittinggi District, on the evening of Nov 3.
The TdS` theme this year is "One Decade for All," in order to mark a decade of the organization of the cycling race classified by International Cycling Union (UCI) as 2.2 category race and listed in the UCI Asia Tour calendar of events.
Besides having to brave heavy rains, participating cyclists have to ride longer because the TdS` race track this year is extended to 1,267 kilometers, from 1,250 kilometers in the previous year, although its stages are reduced from nine to eight stages.
A total of 224 cyclists, grouped in 21 cycling teams from 26 countries, including four domestic teams and one local team, are participating in this year`s TdS, with total prizes worth Rp2.3 billion to be won.
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.
On the morning of Nov 4, a total of 114 cyclists grouped in teams started from Bukittingi for the TdS` first stage, en route to Sijunjung, stretching 140.5 kilometers.
Indonesian cyclist Novardianto Jamalidin of PGN Road Cycling Team, who finished at 3 hours, 25 minutes, and 24 seconds, was the winner. The runners-up were Muhammad Izzat Hilmi Abdul Halil from Malaysia?s Sapura Cycling Team, and Sanghong Park of Korea`s LX cycling Team, respectively.
The second stage started on Nov 5 from Sawahlunto and ended in Dharmasraya, covering a total distance of 204.1 kilometers.
The third stage will start on Nov 6 from Singkarak to Tanah Datar, stretching 150.4 kilometers, while the 144-kilometer-long fourth stage will cover Padang-Agam; the fifth stage from Limapuluh Kota to Pasaman will cover 170.5 kilometers; the sixth stage, on Nov 9, from Solok to Payakumbuh will cover 105 kilometers; and the seventh stage from Padangpanjang to South Solok, covering 194.4 kilometers, will be held on Nov 10.
The final stage from South Pesisir to Pariaman, stretching 158 kilometers, will be held on Sunday, Nov 11, 2018.
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.
The 2018 TdS route covers 16 districts and cities in West Sumatra Province.
To showcase the province`s nature scenery, the race takes the participants to a remote area, coastal region, tropical rain forest area, historic monuments, and national parks in West Sumatra.
Among beautiful areas that the participants van enjoy along the route are Lake Singkarak, which is the largest lake in the province; Harau Valley; Lake Maninjau, Kelok (Curves) 44; Lake Di atas (Above); and Lake Di bawah (Below).
Jamal Hibatullah, an Indonesian cyclist, expressed his enthusiasm to participate in the race, despite likely downpours during the event.
Last year, he came out as the fastest cyclist for Indonesian participants, and ranked sixth among all of the participating cyclists
He remarked that among toughest rivals are Ben Dyball from St George Continental Cycling Team, Oleksandr Polivoda from Ningxia Sports Lottery-Lival Cycling Team, and Alvaro Duarte from Forca Amskins Racing.
"I have to be ready to face all kinds of condition, including the weather in West Sumatra, where rains frequently fall," he noted.
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.