On Saturday, 14th June, the international cycling competition of Tour de Singkarak 2014 continued to challenge the skills and endurance of competing athletes in its 8th stage, which started from the Taman Segitiga (Triangle Park) in Sawahlunto to Sangir Padang Aro in South Solok.
88 racers from 18 teams took part in this stage which covered a total distance of 167Km. Aside from the long track which was highlighted with hard climbs and winding turns, racers were also presented with the enchanting beauty of the Twin Lake, tea plantations, riverside, and the panorama of Mount Kerinci.
The long and exhausting stage took cyclists to the Twin Lake (Danau Diateh and Danau Dibawah) area, which, aside from presenting a picturesque setting also brought challenging climbs at the Pasar Bukit Sileh at Kilometer 52 (level 1 climb) and at Liki at Kilometer 151.5 (Level 2 Climb). The climbs proved to be a difficult challenge which caused a number of athletes to drop out of the race.
At the end of this stage, Soufiane Haddi from Skydive Dubai Pro Cyclng Team was first to cross the finish line, recording the time of 4:25:08. Amir Zargari from Pishgaman Yazd Team (PKY) Iran took second place, followed by another Iranian racer, Ramin Mehrbanizar in 3rd place.
Approaching the final stage, Iranian cyclist, Amir Zargari who accumulated the total time of 25:48:36, remained firm at the top of the general standings. Zargari’s teammate, Rahim Emami also kept a firm grip on the 2nd place with a total time of 25:49:53, followed by Iranian cyclist, Ramin Mehrbanizar in 3rd place with total time of 25:53:28.
Dadi Suryadi from Pegasus Continental Team (PCT) Indonesia also maintained his lead in the ASEAN category and was holder of the Red and White Jersey for the 7th time.
In the run for the title of the King of Mountain, Ramin Mehrbanizar from Pishgaman Yazd Iran (PKY) managed to collect 40 points, thus earning him the Polka Dot Jersey for the 6th consecutive time.
Hosting the finish location for the 8th stage, South Solok, in the eastern part of the West Sumatra Province is also a young regency that was formed only in 2004. Its area covers the foot of the Bukit Barisan Montain Range on its west and a vast flatland on its east. The regency directly borders Jambi Province in the south and is surrounded by three other regencies of West Sumatra Province, namely: Pesisir Selatan, Solok, and Dharmasraya.
South Solok Regency is dubbed as the land of a thousand Rumah Gadang (Grand Houses of Minangkabau) because of the abundance of Rumah Gadangs still found here. Some of these are already a couple of hundred years old but are still being occupied. The regency is also decorated with many rivers which originate from the Danau Diateh Lake in the Solok Regency which runs through the regency and flows to the Batanghari River in Jambi.
The young regency also offers other tourist attractions such as Lake Bontak, Ngalau Lubuk Malako, and historical sites such as mosques, a palace, and monuments. There is also the Mudiak Sapan Hot Spring which features water temperature of 95 degrees Centigrade.
On Sunday, 15th June, competing cyclists will race in the 9th and final stage of Tour de Singkarak 2014 which will take them from Painan, Pesisir Selatan Regency, to the city of Padang, capital of West Sumatra.
Covering a total distance of 132Km, athletes will race their hearts out in a fierce final battle to win the Final Stage, and a last shot to dethrone Amir Zargari from the top spot, however slim the chance.
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