Tour de Siak continues despite forest fire-induced haze: Riau Governor

Tour de Siak continues despite forest fire-induced haze: Riau Governor

The start of the Seventh Tour de Siak international cycling race and sports tourism event in Siak, Riau Province, on September 19, 2019. (Photo: Bayu Agustari Adha/ FA)

I have been informed by the team of PB ISSI (the Indonesian Cycling Federation) following a technical meeting with foreign teams that they do not mind if the race continues
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Riau Governor Syamsuar supports holding the international cycling race and sports tourism event of Tour de Siak despite haze emanating from forest fires in the province blanketing Siak District.

Haze in Siak was not as thick as that in Pelalawan District, the governor informed Antara while monitoring fire-fighting efforts in Pangkalan Kerinci, Pelalawan, on Thursday evening.

"Siak is different from here (Pelalawan). In Siak, it is bright," he pointed out.

"The team of PB ISSI (the Indonesian Cycling Federation) has informed me following a technical meeting with foreign teams that they have no objection if the race were to continue," he stated.

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Safety tops the concerns of the United Cycling International and PB ISSI, as foreign cyclists are participating in Tour de Siak on September 19-22, 2019.

During the first stage covering the Siak-Mempura-Dayun Siak route and stretching 60 kilometers (km) in length on Thursday (Sept 19), Indonesian and foreign cyclists wore face masks to protect themselves from the haze shrouding the district.

"It seems they keep their spirits high. We have deployed an additional medical team," Siak District Head Alfedri noted.

The route of the first stage was cut to 60 km, from initially 114 km, owing to smog arising from forest fires.

A total of 11 domestic and foreign teams are participating in the Seventh Tour de Siak. The domestic teams comprise the BSP Siak Cycling Team, KFC Cycling Team, KGB Cycling Team, and Indonesia's National Team. The foreign participating teams constitute the Terengganu Inc Tsg Cycling Team of Malaysia, Global Cycling Team of the Netherlands, Velofit Team of Australia, Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan team of Iran, Nex Cycling Team of Singapore, Kinan Cycling Team of Japan, and Go For Gold Team of the Philippines.

The Sumatra Ecoregion Development Control Center of the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry noted that on Friday (Sept 20), the air quality in Riau was still categorized as hazardous.

The Air Pollutant Standard Index over Siak, Kampar, Rokan Hilir, and Bengkalis had reached 300, categorized as hazardous, while the air over Dumai and Pekanbaru was categorized as unhealthy.

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