The sixth Tour de Singkarak has raised the bar for competitors this year, with an additional stage added to the annual cycling event’s lineup, which is slated for June 7-15.
According to Deputy Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sapta Nirwandar, this year the Tour will cover 1,250 kilometers in 18 out of 19 regencies and cities in West Sumatra.
“Only Mentawai Island regency has not been included because of its location,” Sapta said during the launch of the Tour in Basko Grand Mall, Padang, on Sunday.
There will be a total of Rp 1.3 billion (US$114,423) in prize money, an increase of Rp 100 million from last year, up for grabs in the nine-stage event.
When the Tour first started in 2009, it only covered 462 km but was increased to 854 km in 2012 and 1,058.5 km in 2013, by which time it boasted seven stages, which passed through 17 out of 19 regencies and cities in the province.
“Currently, the 2014 Tour de Singkarak will see 20 professional continental teams and four national teams, but we are still waiting for confirmation from some of the teams,” said Sapta.
The confirmed teams are Neri Sottoli (Italy), Avanti Racing Team (Australia), China Huasen Cycling Team (China), OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team (Singapura), Pishgaman Yazd (Iran), Team 7 Eleven Road Bike (Philippines), Mongolian Cycling Federation (Mongolia) and Team Budget Forklifts (Australia).
Sapta added that the International Cycling Union’s (UCI), the world cycling body, had included the Tour in its road calendar for 2013-2014.
The Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), organizer of the Tour de France, deemed the Tour de Singkarak to be the world’s fifth most popular race after the Tour de France; the Giro D’Italia, Italy; the Vuelta a Espana, Spain; and the Santos Tour Down Under, Australia, Sapta claimed.
Stage one of the race will cover 116 km, and will start from the Padang Pariaman regent’s office and end at Gandoriah Beach on June 7, followed by a 143-km second-stage route from Bonjol, Pasaman, to West Pasaman.
The third stage will cover 121 km from Limapuluh Kota regency to Basa Pagaruyung Palace in Batusangkar, followed by the next stage that spans 181 km from Gadang Clock in Bukittinggi to Puncak Lawang, Agam.
The fifth stage will cover 125 km from Ngalau Indah, Payakumbuh to Lake Singkarak, followed by a 135-km sixth-stage route from Padang Panjang to Solok.
The seventh stage from Sijunjung regency to Dharmasraya regency will cover 125 km, before a 183-km eight stage from Sawahlunto to South Solok regency.
The final stage will cover 125 km from Painan city in South Pesisir regency to the finish line in front of Padang governor’s office.