On the tenth anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence, using cycling as a catalyst, Asia’s newest nation has made an incredible demonstration of the power of reconciliation and peace.
The 4th Annual Tour de Timor – a six-day International Mountain Bike race historically crossed into the Indonesian territory of West Timor for the first time amd today returned from the Timor-Leste enclave of Oekussi. Race Director, Floriano da Costa Carvahlo said emotions ran high for all of the Timor-Leste riders and supporters:
“We chose this route to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Independence and we have worked hard to make it successful for all of us because we have all felt the loss on both sides of the border. We are very happy to meet with our brothers and sisters in this celebration of sport. We speak the same language and have many of our customs are the same. We have said hello to each other and we rejoice for we are all one people.”
He went onto to say; “Both sides of the border have met repeatedly in an official capacity and with the full acknowledgement and support of the Indonesian government. We will continue to work at maintaining our friendly and peaceful relations with Indonesia.”
The Tour de Timor also said farewell to a team of eleven cyclists and their support team who joined the race for three days representing Nusa Tengara Timur: Mr. Vincent Jewarut, the group’s representative, thanked the tour for their support and said “We look forward to getting the chance to ride again in the Tour de Timor and want to aknowledge this year’s motto of ‘Peace has no borders’ because the people of the island of Timor are the same and peace is something that we all share.”
The fourth Tour de Timor promises to be the most varied of all the races so far for the riders. The route includes a split mix of two challenging hill climbing days, two road racing days and two mixed terrain days. Around 320 riders are expected to ride together in what is fast becoming Asia’s most notorious (and lucrative) mountain bike race. The race will be held in September from the 10th to the 15th.
In a very strong finish Malaysian road racer, Mohd Razif Mohd Salleh has won Stage Four of the 4th annual Tour de Timor with the time of 2:42:32 – it is the second time this tour that he has won a stage on the tour. Twelve seconds later Australia’s Peter Kutschera crossed the finish line with the time of 2:42:44.
Mohd Salleh and Kutschera broke away early from the pack to lead for most of the course from the East Timorese enclave of Oekussi, back across the Indonesian territory of West Timor to the border town of Mota Ain. However, it also meant that Kutschera has grabbed the yellow jersey from previous day holder, Sharin Amir of Malaysia.
Women’s 2011 defending champion, Peta Mullens was the first woman to cross the finish line with the time of 2:46:40.
The first Timor-Leste rider to cross the line was Antonio Martens with the time of 2:46:37.
Visit the official website: www.tourdetimor.com for more info.