Tour de Singkarak Showcases West Sumatra as It Rides Onto the Global Stage

By Jakarta Globe on 03:44 pm May 14, 2013
Dancers perform a traditional dance from West Sumatra during the launch of the Tour de Singkarak on Sunday. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Dancers perform a traditional dance from West Sumatra during the launch of the Tour de Singkarak on Sunday. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

The Tour de Singkarak returns to West Sumatra for the fifth time this year with an increase in prize money that is expected to attract 220 riders from 18 countries.

The tour, slated for June 2-9, is offering a total of Rp 1.2 billion ($123,000) in prize money, Rp 200 million more than was on offer last year.

“We have successfully held the tour four times and become an annual race of the UCI [International Cycling Union] calendar,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu told reporters during a promotional event for the tour at Jakarta’s National Monument (Monas) on Sunday. “As an event that combines sports and tourism, Tour de Singkarak has helped to promote West Sumatra as the new tourism destination in Indonesia.

“The is not only seen in the increasing numbers of domestic and foreign tourists, but also creative industries that lead to better welfare for West Sumatra people.”

The tour’s executive chairman, Sapta Nirwandar, said organizers will continue cooperation with Amaury Sports Organizers, which surveyed the Tour de France, to draw international attention to the Indonesian event. “We hope to be more professional, to see more participants in the near future, and support from both local and provincial governments,” said Sapta, who also thanked the sponsors including state-owned bank Bank Negara Indonesia.

This year’s tour will feature seven stages and run for 1,173 kilometers across 17 towns in West Sumatra. The first stage will cover a 122-km route from Bukittinggi to Bonjol before participants are allowed to enjoy one of the province’s heritage buildings, Istana Raja Baso (the Imperial Palace), in the second stage, which will be one of the longest.

Padang, the provincial capital, will be the last destination for the riders.