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Tour de Singkarak participants to arrive in Padang

31st May 2012 | 3.026 Views
Tour de Singkarak participants to arrive in Padang
Photo document of a Tour de Singkarak (TDS) 2011. (ANTARA/Ismar Patrizki)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Around 250 bicycle racers from 17 countries will participate in the Tour de Singkarak (TDS) to be held in West Sumatra province from June 4 to June 10, 2012; the cyclists are expected to arrive in Padang, the capital city of the province, on Friday (June 1).

Burhasman Bur, the head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry`s West Sumatra provincial office, said in Padang a couple of days ago that the event will altogether extend over seven stages, during which the participants will cover 856 kilometres.

The first stage will be held at Sawahlunto-Sijunjung; the second, at Muara Sijunjung-Lembah Harau; the third, at Payakumbuh-Istana Basa Pagaruyung; the fourth, at Sicincin Anai Golf-Bukittinggi; the fifth, at Padang Panjang-Singkarak; the sixth, at Pariaman-Painan; and the seventh stage will include the Padang Circuit Race.

The seven stages of the TDS will also involve cycling along three lakes, namely, Singkarak, Danau Atas and Danau Bawah, in West Sumatra province.

The participants will pass through the road near Singkarak Lake, which is located between the cities of Padang Panjang and Solok.

Singkarak Lake (which has lent its name to the bicycle race) is approximately 21 km long and 7 km wide, extending over an area of 107.8 km; it is a popular tourist destination in West Sumatra.

The cyclists will also ride past the two adjacent lakes, Danau (lake) Di Atas and Danau Di Bawah, which are located near the Solok district town of Alahan Panjang.

The lake "Danau Di Atas" is located at an altitude of 1,531 metres above sea level, while "Danau Di Bawah" lies at an altitude of 1,663 metres above sea level.

The bike race participants will come from Malaysia, Japan, Iran, Singapore, Australia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Chinese Taipei, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand, France and Vietnam.

The foreign teams have confirmed their participation in the TDS, which will pass through 14 districts/cities in West Sumatra.

According to Burhasman, each team will comprise up to six bike racers and three backup riders.

The TDS, which has become an annual agenda for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), is the fourth race of its kind to be held this year. The prize money amounts to one billion rupiah this year - higher than last year`s figure of Rp750 million.

Last year`s TDS saw 15 participant teams from Japan, China, Iran, the Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Britain, Taipei, New Zealand, Ireland, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Spain and Indonesia, which was the host.

The 2011 TDS comprised seven stages in all, covering 739.3 km through 12 districts/cities in West Sumatra province.

According to Burhasman, the upcoming TDS is expected to attract around 44,000 foreign tourists.

In 2011, a total of 431,000 foreign tourists visited West Sumatra, and seven percent of them were attracted here by the TDS event, Burhasman noted. He hopes that this year`s TDS will lure 10 percent of the targeted foreign tourist arrivals - or 44,000 foreign tourists.

In addition, Burhasman called on all sellers (including the sellers of food) and taxi drivers not to increase their tariffs during the TDS event.

Meanwhile, Ampera Salim, the public relations officer of Padangpanjang city administration, stated on Monday that prior to joining the event, the TDS participants will be given the opportunity to board a tourist train, locally called "Mak Itam," which is an old black locomotive train powered by coal.

The Mak Itam tourist train will take the TDS participants on a 10-km ride from Padangpanjang to Sawahlunto (an old coal mining city), he remarked. The fifth stage of the event will be held at Padangpanjang.

Moreover, the Bukittinggi Culture and Tourism Office has organised traditional dances and horse cart processions to welcome all the cyclists who will participate in the TDS.

The welcoming ceremony for the participants will be held at the Big Clock park of Bukittinggi.

According to Emil Anwar, head of the arts section of the Bukittinggi Culture and Tourism office, the traditional dances will be organised by seven studios: Sakato, Rang Mudo, Saandiko 14, Saayun Salangkah, Gastarana, Ganto Minang and sanggar Puti Limo Jurai.

Meanwhile, the Solok regent, Syamsu Rahim, on Thursday called on all the people in the district to join hands in making the TDS a grand success.

To ensure the success of last year`s TDS, the Culture and Tourism Ministry had invited the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the organiser of the Tour de France, to provide inputs regarding the implementation of the TDS.

ASO has a long experience of organising international events such as the Tour de France, the Paris Dakkar Rally and the Paris Marathon.

In order to ensure the peaceful completion of the TDS event, the West Sumatra provincial police office will deploy 4,000 personnel, said the provincial police operational bureau chief, Senior Commissioner Suwardi, in Padang on Thursday.

Regarding the earthquake issue - following the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that rocked the province on September 30, 2009 - Burhasman opined that the incident is unlikely to deter foreign tourists from visiting West Sumatra, especially during the Tour De Singkarak international event.