Having been rescheduled due to haze conditions over the island last year, the thrilling Tour de Bintan is back for its sixth edition this year on 1st to 3rd April 2016. Returning with full force, the event will witness fierce competition among cyclists from 40 nationalities comprising over 70 cycling teams and clubs from Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Asian countries.
Over 800 cyclists have confirmed participation in what has now become one of Southeast Asia’s premier amateur stage race. Among all participants, Singapore dominates with 30% share followed by England with 19% and Australia with 12%, while Indonesian participants record 6%. Completing the lineup of participants are cyclists from the USA, Canada, Germany, Japan, France, and New Zealand. The 2013 winner and 2014 runner up from Allied World CCN and the Specialized Mavericks teams, Scherwey and Dohling, will be among the favorites battling for the overall trophy and the coveted S$10,000 total Prize Fund, but they will face stiff competition from some of the world’s best cyclists including England’s Alexander Ivakhov.
At the press conference held at the Soesilo Sodarman hall, at the Sapta Pesona Buiilding of the the Ministry of Tourism, in Jakarta held on 22nd March 2016, Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya stated that: “We fully support the staging of Tour de Bintan and expect that this event can attract international tourists from many countries, especially from competing countries. Considering the large number of registered participants and the success of previous editions, we are optimistic that the Tour de Bintan and the island of Bintan itself will become a main draw for tourists”.
The Tour de Bintan like similar events in the Riau islands and across Indonesia will also attract the media and promote special interest and sporting tourism. “In two days, riders will race across beautiful hills, magnificent forests, and enchanting beaches. As a Destination that is supported by high standard of tourist facilities and complemented by international scale events, the number and quality of tourists attracted to holiday in Bintan will surely rise” added Minister Arief.
Showcasing the diverse beauty, from beaches through forests and hills in different parts of Bintan Island, the tour route varies slightly each year. As a special feature, this year, race organizers, MetaSport have designed the Prologue Time Trial course that will kick off the action on Friday 1st April, highlighting the new Lagoi Bay development in the Bintan Resorts area.
The Prologue is reserved only for Cat (Category) 1 and Cat 2 and Women’s races, and will determine who will wear the yellow jersey the next day. The 11km test of speed and power racing against the clock will this time cover hillier area and is a bit more technical than the previous courses as it negotiates twists, turns and undulations of an out-and-back loop connecting the Lagoi Bay and the Ria Bintan resort areas.
The Tour also offers a Gran Fondo, or “Big Ride” category, for general cyclists who wish to experience riding like a pro in a fully-supported event but without the stress of a competition. The Gran Fondo Double is for the most adventurous and covers 2 days of cycling totaling 260km. For those just looking to ride one day, they may choose between the Gran Fondo Classic (153km) and Gran Fondo Challenge (82km).
Green sprinters and Polka Dot climbers jerseys will be awarded across all competitive categories, with Stage 1 and Stage 2 both featuring two pre-designated sprint points for each of those competitions.
As before, the centerpiece of Tour de Bintan is the venerable 153km pilgrimage through the heart of Bintan which is Stage 1. While there are no major climbs on this course, it is seldom flat, and the near constant diet of rolling hills and heat and humidity will always ensure an epic day on stamina in the saddle for all competitors.
The standout feature of the Stage 1 course is the famous "red road" sector, which comes just 22km from the staging start at the village of Simpang Lagoi. It brings riders to the coast via 13km of short, sharp climbs on a road carved through a stunningly beautiful landscape, where the predominant red soil contrasts vividly with the bright green of stunted foliage. A tweak of Stage 1 course this year will see this special section tackled twice.
The Tour de Bintan concludes with Stage 2, a 107km Sunday morning journey through the scenic northwestern section of the island. Stage 2 honors are expected to be settled by fast and furious bunch sprints on the iconic finishing straight up into the Nirwana Gardens Finish line.
Part of the Tour de Bintan's appeal is its location. The island is a mere hour's ferry ride from Singapore but upon arrival it feels like entering another world. The lush green landscape, quiet and well-paved roads to ride on, and the generous hospitality of the easy-going local population, together provide a striking rural contrast to the hustle and bustle of Singapore.
More information available at: www.tourdebintan.com