Plaza Lagoi, Bintan, Indonesia
March 29, 2019
The 2019 Tour de Bintan opened with a short, sharp dose of pain this afternoon as some 500 athletes took on the Stage 1 Individual Time Trial at the Plaza Lagoi in the beautifully Indonesian island of Bintan. The 17km race against the clock also doubled as a qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships ITT, so coveted tickets to the finals in Poznan, Poland in September were up for grabs in addition to a string of yellow jerseys.
Racing in the men’s 40-44 age group, Pierre-Alain Scherwey (Allied World Treknology3) emerged as the fastest rider of the day with a scintillating time of 23 minutes and 25 seconds. Finishing just a second slower was Taylor Price (Roval Racing), but as the Shanghai-based rider was in the 35-39 age group he also won a yellow jersey. As did the third-fastest man, Thomas Thrall (Matador Racing) from the 19-34 category. There wasn’t much to spare between those three men, as Thrall was just four seconds slower than Scherwey.
On the women’s side of the action, the ITT queen was Lucy Richardson. The Thailand-based Brit recorded a time of 27:35, which was nine seconds quicker than the next fastest girl, Annemiek Stegehuis (Paco Tora Concap). Third best overall and a further 12 second back was Yann Kai Oh (Project 852). Interestingly, all three were racing in the 35-39 age group.
“I’m really surprised to be the fastest overall women, but I’m so happy. It’s so hot I was just happy to have finished,” Richardson said after stepping off the podium.
Describing herself as a triathlete, Richardson was thrilled to have won her first ever bike race.
“I did the Tour of Phuket a few weeks ago and I came second in the time trial there, so this is a bit new, I get a yellow jersey and I’m very happy,” she said. “But the course was harder than I expected”.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, I can’t wait, nice rolling terrain, I like that, I like hills, so we’ll see,” she said. “It’s my first time in Bintan, my first UCI event, it seems really well organised and Bintan is nice. I’m really impressed.”
The Tour de Bintan runs in five-year age bands (except the 19-34 cat), so a total of 14 yellow jerseys were handed out today, which the owners will proudly wear tomorrow in the tour’s “queen stage”, the Gran Fondo Classic. With no part of the 143km course higher than 50 metres, Stage 2 doesn’t look too difficult on paper, but the constantly rolling nature of the course coupled with the heat and humidity of racing on the equator makes it a fitting choice as a qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships Road Race.
The top 25 percent of finishers from each category in today’s ITT earned the right to enter the world champs in Poland. Full results of Stage 1 can be found at this link: http://bluechipresults.com.au/results.aspx?CId=11&RId=1236&EId=1