For the first time this year, the UCI Asia Tour peloton heads to Indonesia for the fifth edition of the International Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen.
Let’s start off with some good newsÂ forÂ those Asia Tour watchers who may still have theÂ recent farce in MalaysiaÂ fresh in their minds: the Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen is being run by localÂ government – the Regency (municipality) of Banyuwangi to be exact – and everything appears to be tip-topÂ ahead of the first stage on Wednesday.
In fact, the racing scene in Indonesia generally looks to be in good shape. The Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen is the first ofÂ fourÂ UCI Asia Tour events to be held in the countryÂ for 2016, including two new races scheduled to take place ahead ofÂ the eighth Tour de Singkarak in August.
What sets theÂ Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen apart from other stage races in Indonesia is its unique topography – there are almost as many volcanic cones littered acrossÂ East Java as there are sunburntÂ holidaymakersÂ in neighbouring Bali. The whole four-day affair isÂ a compactÂ 567.2 kilometres, but the lay of the landÂ permits the organiser to strike a good balance with oneÂ spectator-friendly circuit race, twoÂ rollingÂ point-to-point stages, and a killer finalÂ stage with a proper hors categorie summitÂ finish.
According to ITDBI Chairman Guntur Priambodo, ongoing annualÂ improvements made to the race have attractedÂ praise from theÂ UCI andÂ the next major objective is to secureÂ 2.1 statusÂ as early as 2017.
There’s much to like about this race, includingÂ its ITDBI abbreviation that is far easier to write (and alsoÂ anchors theÂ official hashtag #ITDBI2016Â on social media).
Hot and humid, withÂ temperatures between 30-35Â°C during the day, dippingÂ into the midÂ 20â€˛s overnight.
As per article 2.1.005 of the UCI regulations, the 2016 Tour de Banyuwangi IjenÂ is open to the following teams: UCI Professional Continental, UCI Continental, National, Regional and Club. In accordance withÂ article 2.2.003, teams must have a minimum of four, and maximum of eight, riders â€“ theÂ actual number being set by the organiser, which for ITDBI is five ridersÂ per team. Of the 20 teams expectedÂ to participate, 12 will be at UCIÂ Continental level with the remainderÂ club and national teams.
START LISTÂ (posted 10.05): Â link
FourÂ jerseys will be awarded at the conclusion of each stage:
Leader of General Classification â€“ Yellow
Leader of Points Classification â€“ Green
Leader of King of the Mountains (KOM) Classification â€“Â Polka Dots
Leader of best IndonesianÂ Rider Classification â€“ Red and White
This yearâ€™s raceÂ sees the overall prize purse double from around IDR700mÂ (~USD50’000) awardedÂ in previous editionsÂ to IDR1’400’000’000Â (~USD105’200), making Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen won of the richest UCI AsiaTour races outside of China (the 2015 Tour de Qinghai Lake offered an astonishing USD1m in prize money). Prize distribution for the major categories:
Overall winner (individual) = IDR75’000’000 (USD5’630)
Overall team =Â IDR100’000’000 (USD7’500)
Overall Indonesian teamÂ =Â IDR20’000’000 (USD1’500)
Overall KOM =Â IDR20’000’000 (USD1’500)
Overall Points =Â IDR20’000’000 (USD1’500)
Overall IndonesianÂ Rider =Â IDR20’000’000 (USD1’500)
Stage winner =Â IDR15’000’000 (USD1’125)
Promotion of the race to an international audience has so far been above average for a UCI Asia Tour event. Even though the officialÂ websiteÂ (which has materialised only four days ahead of the race start) is a lean affair limited toÂ basic route information andÂ a few passages pulled from the race manual, it loads fast and has easily-located links to more information.
Crucially, both the officialÂ FacebookÂ and TwitterÂ accounts have beenÂ active and responsive to questions, though it looks as though theÂ InstagramÂ account used last year might not be called into service for 2016. RaceÂ followers wanting to learn more about Banyuwangi places, food and customs, can also visit the municipality’s informativeÂ FBÂ and TwitterÂ streams.
One major element generally missing at Asia Tour races is a live online broadcast, or any footage at all. Happily, theÂ live streamÂ used inÂ previous editions will also be resurrectedÂ this year. If there are any daily video highlights, they will be found at the raceâ€™sÂ YouTube channel.
In summary, communications have come a long way since the inaugural event in 2012 and the responsiveness of ITDBIÂ media personnel has so far been commendable.
Click here to see results from each stage
STAGES AND PROFILES
Stage 1 | Glenmore â€“ Taman Blambangan, 171.4 Km
Wednesday, 11 MayÂ 2016 (starts 09:00 local time)
Stage 2Â | RTH Maron â€“ Taman Blambangan, 145.7 Km
Thursday, 12 MayÂ 2016 (starts 09:00 local time)
Stage 3 | Grand WatudodolÂ â€“ Taman Blambangan, 127.1 Km
Friday, 13 MayÂ 2016 (starts 13:30 local time)
Stage 4 | TPI Muncar â€“ Paltuding Ijen, 123 Km
Saturday, 14 MayÂ 2015 (starts 09:00 local time)
Stage 1 official results sheet (PDF)
Stage 1 official results sheet, revised (PDF)
Stage 2 official results sheet (PDF)
Stage 3 official results sheet (PDF)
Stage 4 official results sheet (PDF)
Stage 4 official results sheet, revised (PDF)