A thousand riders at the 2017 Tour de Bintan were in high spirits, having set out to meet requirements for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, also known as the world novice cycling titles. Taking place on the tropical Indonesian island that gives the race its name, the prestigious Tour de Bintan welcomed an elevation in status this year as the March 3-5 event joined as one of the 19 worldwide stops on the UCI Gran Fondo World Series (GFWS) logbook.
The event opened with two phases of the race—Friday’s Individual Time Trial and Saturday’s Gran Fondo Classic —qualifying occasions for the big showdowns that happened in Albi, France from August 24-27. Contenders were categorised into five-year groups, with the exception of a more extensive 18-34 class for the adolescents.
The island saw contenders crowding in from all over the globe to take part in the event. As anticipated, a large influx of riders came from Singapore and Hong Kong. The number of Indonesian riders saw an obvious rise in comparison to past years, likely attracted by the UCI status. In addition, a substantial number of unexpected participants from Perth, Australia boosted the international ambiance of the event.
The ITT started and finished at Plaza Lagoi on Friday before the trail to the short but steep slopes facing the area of Ria Bintan. Though the race was dry, it was set apart by strong breezes, which introduced an extra challenge to the cyclists.
The last phase of the Tour de Bintan is considered by numerous to be the hardest trial of the race due to added exhaustion from the initial two days and a similarly tough course as the previous day’s.
Read the full race report here.