Local riders may face an uphill climb in pursuit of the Tour de East Java title, as organizers announced on Monday that a record number of international teams had signed up for the seventh edition of the race.
A UCI 2.2 category event, the Tour is one of the country’s most highly anticipated cycling events. It will take place in Tulungagung district from June 18-20.
A total of 20 foreign teams are expected to participate in this year’s Tour, seven more than last year. If all of the foreign teams show up it will surpass the 2008 edition, which featured 16 teams from overseas.
“Since the Tour started, we’ve always had problems getting international teams to compete here. However, this year has been different,” said Harijanto Tjondrokusumo, chairman of the Tour’s organizing committee.
“As of Monday, 20 international teams have registered and we are still waiting for more teams to confirm their entries.”
Harijanto said the Tour had struggled to find sponsors in the past, be he hoped this year would be different.
“We’re glad that our promotional efforts abroad have encouraged countries to send teams to the Tour,” he said.
“With the increase in the number of riders, the field will surely be more competitive. Hopefully, this will entice sponsors.”
Organizers said Tabriz Petrochemical of Iran, the Tour’s two-time defending champion, had confirmed its participation in the Rp 200 million ($22,000) event. Tabriz will likely feature Andrey Mizurov, the 2009 individual champion, in its lineup.
Riders from the national teams of China, Malaysia and Vietnam have also registered.
Although the Tour will welcome a record number of foreign teams, it will only feature three stages covering a total distance of 367.1 kilometers.
The Tour will open with a 111.7-kilometer first stage that will kick off in Tulungagung city, pass through Trengalek and finish back in Tulungagung.
The second stage is the longest at 154.9km. It will start in Tulungagung, go through Kediri and Blitar before returning to Tulungagung. Organizers say this stage will be the most difficult, with riders facing a steep climb of up to 382 meters above sea level.
The third stage is a 100.5km criterium event that will be held around Tulungagung.
Provisional List of Teams:
International: Action Cycling (Taiwan), Aisan (Japan), Azad University (Iran), Bike Bug North Sydney (Australia), Champions System (Hong Kong), China National Team, CNC (Germany), Eddy Holland Bicycle Service (Australia), Fuji Asia (Taiwan), Geumsan Ginseng (South Korea), Giant (Taiwan), L2A (Malaysia), Malaysia National Team, OCBC Team (Singapore), Plan B (Australia), Road Bike (Philippines), Seoul Cycling (South Korea), Tabriz Petrochemical (Iran), Vally ASR (Iran), Vietnam National Team
Local: Araya Sidoarjo, Bintang Kranggan Cycling Club Jakarta, Custom Cycling Club Solo, Kencana Bike Malang, Polygon Sweet Nice (2 teams), Putra Perjuangan Bandung