TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The annual international cycling race and sport tourism event Tour de Singkarak (TdS) was flagged off on Sunday.
Deputy Governor of West Sumatra Nasrul Abit, concurrently chairman of the TdS 2018 organizing committee, officiated the event in Kantin Square on Saturday evening.
The Tour de Singkarak`s theme this year is "One Decade for All" to mark a decade of the organization of the cycling race classified by UCI (International Cycling Union) as 2.2 category race and listed in the UCI Asia Tour calendar of events.
Jamaludin Mahmud, event director of the Tour de Singkarak, said here, Saturday evening that the race had eight stages, compared to nine stages in the previous year.
Its race track this year, however, is extended to 1,267 kilometers (km), from 1,250 km in the previous year. The 2018 TdS route covers 16 districts and cities in West Sumatra Province.
The first stage of TdS is Bukittinggi-Sijunjung, stretching 140.5 km. The start from Bukittinggi is on Sunday (Nov 4) and participated in by 114 cyclists from 20 teams.
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.
The route includes 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).
Bad weather in the current rainy season will become a real challenge. "This year, there are more heavy rains," Mahmud said.
Last month, Several areas in West Sumatra were hit by floods and landslides.
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 said 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 said.
To show case the province`s nature scenery, the race will take the participants to a remote area, coastal region, tropical rain forest area, historic monuments and national parks existing in West Sumatra.