Tour de Timor 2011 Over Six Days

By Mallika Naguran

Singapore, 5 September 2011. The 2011 Tour de Timor will see riders taking on an added day to cover the 600km course through the Eastern districts. The inclusion of Lautem in this year’s Tour from 11-16 September will mark a complete circuit throughout the 12 contiguous districts of the eastern part of Timor-Leste. Oecusse, the western exclave, will be the only district yet to be visited by the annual Tour de Timor events.
With rider registrations officially over 400, this year’s race is the biggest event yet. As volunteers continue to arrive in Dili the swelling ranks of the organising committee combined with the riders and various support staff will see close to 800 total members in the convoy moving from Dili to Laclubar, Beaco, Iliomar, Com, Manatuto then back to Dili.
Here are a few riders to watch out for: returning champion Adrian Jackson, along with his close competitors Scott Liston, Ben Mather, Paul van der Ploeg (brother of inaugural champion Neil), Shahrin Amir and Andrew Bell. This year will also see the inclusion of Tour newcomers Chris Jongewaard and MTB legend Tinker Juarez. The Timorese men are continuing their strong gains year on year with expected top ten placing for this year’s event.  Rowena Fry is once again expected to dominate the women’s category.

“Peace begins with me" is this year’s theme for the major event which forms part of the President’s Dili ‘City of Peace’ campaign. The strong theme of social inclusion and promoting sport throughout the country will be evident through out the race with local communities involved around the country and back in Dili. The Friday 16 September return into Dili will be marked by road-closures throughout the capital for the green-themed morning – bicycles will be the order of the day for all.

"The Tour de Timor is the most participated event of the year with thousands of Timorese in the cities, towns and most remote villages turning out daily on the streets to welcome you to their neighborhoods and cheer on their riders. The standard of local riders is certainly rising every year; we were very proud of all 75 Timorese riders in 2010 especially the Da Costa brothers who regularly finished in the top ten," says Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste.

Riders are treated to views of seas on both the North and South coasts of the country, views of rainforests and rice paddies, mountain villages and rural children. They are pushed to compete across conditions ranging from extreme heat and dryness to constant rainfall. And after all this they are given good hot meals, a place to camp and opportunity to explore local villages. For the true competitors there is also the matter of the prize money, which this year is in excess of $100,000 USD.

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