Photography courtesy of Ricky Wihendar/Cycosports
Tour de Kepri (TdK) is Cycosports latest addition to the South East Asia race calendar and it’s sure to be a regular fixture for most racers after the successful execution of the first event held 28 - 30 September. TdK is a three day stage race held on Batam and Bintan islands of Indonesia just a short ferry ride from Singapore comprising of 3 stages over 3 days beginning with the all familiar Crit held on a small island of Tanjung Pinang a short hop away from Bintan Island.
Our Brand Ambassador Kelvin Khoo raced in the Open Category and gave us some insights as to how it was within the Peloton.
Stage 1 – Crit, 45mins plus 3 laps
To ensure all riders finished in a timely manner and could be ferried to their overnight accommodation stage 1 had two courses, a 2.8km and 2.3km both of which had some small kickers. The format was 45min plus 3 laps and by most accounts it was a typical Crit, Kelvin Khoo: “There was a flurry of attacks at the beginning with nothing sticking. With 5 laps to go a 5 man break got away and with all major teams (including mine) represented and the peloton was content with letting the break stay away, I rolled in with the Peloton in 14th place”
The stage win went to Paolo Caputo from (Allied-World Treknology), with Jerome Teo (Cycling Training CC) placing second and Bastian Dohling (Mavericks) rounding out the podium for third place.
Stage 2 – 135km, 1250m Elevation
Familiar to most who have raced in South East Asia, stage 2 was held on the island of Bintan and took in much of the UCI Tour de Bintan course which included the infamous Red Road.
In the Open category, there was no time for sightseeing as the attacks started almost immediately from the Australia based Velofit team who were keen racing. Unfortunately for Velofit, Allied-World Treknology were having not going to give up their GC lead they’d attained in the previous day’s Crit so set about reeling in any and every break which was attempted.
For Kelvin, it was a bit of a shock to the system having been off the bike for 10 weeks prior to the tour starting, “my prediction of a hard day’s racing came to fruition, at the half-way mark my average speed was 38kph and we had been riding constant rollers”.
With the Allied-World Treknology team setting a high pace to avoid attacks the stage was inevitably going to come down to a sprint finish which was lucky for Kelvin given sprinting is his forte. “KGB had a few riders upfront and they were keeping the pace high, coming into the final meters I started my sprint but Boon Kiak of Cyclingtraining.cc was the strongest sprinter in the bunch and got a gap over all of us, I managed to pass a Velofit rider and grab 3rd place, while 2nd spot went to Fajar Surya – KGB”
Stage 3 – Barelang Classic 125km, 1000m Elevation
Tour de Kepri finishes with the Barelang Classic, otherwise known as ‘6-Bridges’. The great thing about South East Asia, is that the weather temperature is predictable and it was another hot humid day for the riders.
This stage was also open to one day racers who were ferried across to the island early in the morning from Singapore and who also had fresh legs compared to the tour riders who’d had a good solid two days of racing built up in their legs.
The dynamics between one-day racers and the tour riders played out from the outset as the pace was high and never let up. Multiple attacks were launched in an attempt to upset the GC rankings and also for those one-day riders looking for podium glory.
Allied-World Treknology were up to the task reining in every attempt at a breakaway which set things up nicely for another sprint finish however today was not going to be Kelvin’s day. “Again it came down to a sprint, but this time the final 10km was faster than stage 2 and the lumpy course had taken it out of me so I wasn't geared up for a strong sprint. I got myself into a good position <5-6> entering the final km but the last kick up to the finish line on the middle of the bridge was too much and in the final km a group of 3 riders had a small gap over the with Daniel Griffiths of Velofit Racing taking the final honours. Second place went to Boon Kiak of Cyclingtraining.cc and third place went to Yusuf Kibar of KGB. I eventually rolled through in 21st position. Overall it was great racing and organisation, we finished the day with a buffet lunch, a couple of well earned beers before boarding the fast ferry ride back to Singapore.”
A big thank you to Cycosports for a fantastic event, if you’re in the Asia Pacific region make sure you put this race on your calendar next year. You could even include the family or partner and enjoy a holiday in Singapore or hop of to some of the fantastic Thai beach resorts for some R&R.