The UCI category 2.1 international cycling race of TdI 2019 was kicked off from the 9th-century Borobudur Temple, the world's largest and oldest Buddhist temple located in Magelang, Central Java Province, on Aug 19, with 18 domestic and foreign participating teams. The cyclists are expected to reach the finish line on Bali Island, one of the world's most famous tourist resort, on Aug 23.
The TdI 2019 comprises five stages, notably Candi Borobudur-Ngawi, stretching 178 kilometers (km); Madiun-Batu, 157.7 km; Batu-Jember, 195.9 km; Jember-Banyuwangi, 150km; and Gilimanuk-Batur UNESCO Global Geopark, 143.6km.
Of the 18 teams, the four Indonesian teams are Indonesia's National Team, PGN Road Cycling Team, Custom Cycling Indonesia (CCI), and KFC Cycling Team.
The foreign participants comprise those from France, Greece, Spain, and England, Parama Nugroho, chairman of the Bank BRI Tour d’Indonesia, remarked.
"We have made comprehensive preparations and are content that all regional heads, whose cities fall on the race's route, fully support the event," he emphasized.
Australian cyclist Angus Lyons emerged as the supreme winner of the first stage in a tightly contested race.
Lyons and two rivals -- Canadian cyclist Ryan Roth from the X-Speed United team of Hong Kong and German cyclist Mario Vogt of the Sapura Cycling Team of Malaysia -- crossed the finish line almost at the same time, clocking three hours, 55 minutes, and 48 seconds to complete the 186.6-km course.
Indonesian cyclist Muhamad Abdurahman of Indonesia’s KFC Cycling Team stood seventh, though he was the first Indonesian cyclist to have reached the finish line in three hours, 57 minutes, and two seconds.
Hence, Angus Lyons (OU Australia), 3:55:58; Ryan Roth (XSU Canada), 3:55:58, and Mario Vogt (TSC Germany), 3:55:58; emerged as winners in the overall individual categories in the first stage.
Winners in the Best Asian Rider category were Chon Huat Goh from TSG Singapore, clocking 3:55:59; Muhamad Abdurrohman from KFC Indonesia, recording 3:57:54; and Genki Yamamoto from KIN Japan, with 3:57:57
The competing teams of the 2019 TdI are Felipe and Galedro from 7 Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines, Setra and Fadli from the Customs Cycling Team, Nateghi and Ganjkhanlou from the Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan, Fung and Ho from the HKSI Pro Cycling Team, Gani and Ali Sahbana from the KFC Cycling Team, Garcia and Lebas from the Kinan Cycling Team, Park and Kim from the KSPO Bianchi Asia Procycling, Davids and Lyons from Oliver's Real Food, Cahyadi and Novardianto from the PGN Road Cycling Team, Butler and Van Heerden from ProTouch, Berwick and Cavanagh from St George Continental Cycling Team, Kolahdozhagh and Looij from the Taijuan Miogee Cycling Team, Dyball and Vogt from the Sapura Cycling Team, Eyob and Batmunkh from the Terengganu Cycling Team, Roth and Elliott from X-Speed Untied, Fitrianto and Waseso from Indonesia's National Team, Mirza and Al Mansoori from the United Arab Emirates Team, and Phounsavath and Chawchiangkwang from the Thailand Continental Cycling Team.
In the meantime, the Indonesian Cycling Federation (ISSI) has set a target to raise the level of TdI to 2.HC (Hors Class), from the current 2.1 International Cycling Union (UCI) level next year.
"This year, TdI is still at 2.1 UCI level. Our target is that it should reach the same level as Tour de Langkawi, notably at 2.HC," Raja Sapta Oktohari, chairman of ISSI Executive Board, remarked recently.
Le Tour de Langkawi is a blue riband event and the highest level cycling race in Asia, with continental-level participants, and includes pro-continental and world tour teams. Its facilities are also of international standard.
Oktohari admitted to it being challenging to reach the same level as that of Tour de Langkawi, but he remained optimistic, as several improvements had been made to raise the level of TdI.
"2019 is the second year for TdI, with the 2.1 UCI level, which is the highest level race in Indonesia. We have been making improvements. A helicopter is deployed this year to guard the race, which is one of the conditions for a level upgrade," he remarked.
Several regions in Indonesia also organize the annual international cycling race of UCI 2.2 status, such as Tour de Singkarak in West Sumatra, Tour de Ijen Banyuwangi in East Java, Tour de Siak in Riau, Tour de Celebes in Central Sulawesi, Tour de Lombok Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Tour de Malvccas in Maluku, and Tour de Flores as well as Tour de Timor in East Nusa Tenggara.
This year, the 11th Tour de Singkarak (TdS) will be held in the provinces of West Sumatra and Jambi on November 2-10, 2019. For the foremost instance, the route of the TdS, which is a major sports tourism event of West Sumatra, will be expanded to also cover the neighboring Jambi Province, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya stated during the launch of the 2019 TdS in Jakarta recently.