2015 International Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen preview

First held in 2012, and as one of only two UCI AsiaTour events to be held in Indonesia this year, the International Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen is a young race with great potential to leverage the tourism appeal of a place that locals refer to as the Sunrise of Java .

BACKGROUNDER
A stone s throw from the western shores of tourist-laden Bali, lies Java. Though home to more than half of Indonesia s quarter of a billion residents, the nation s fifth-largest island is nonetheless replete with a few things that every cyclist should approve of beachside roads, leg-breaking climbs up volcanic craters and, pay attention, arabica coffee plantations.

Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen is held in the lesser-populated province of East Java. Topping out at 3 676m (Gunung Semeru), courtesy of being under constant compression from continental and oceanic plates for millennia, this piece of Indonesia spoils the budding road cycling event organiser for choice, with its vast vistas and grandiose gradients. The four-day, 555 kilometre (545.2 excluding neutral), UCI2.2-ranked stage race spends much of its time tickling the lower slopes of the Ijen Plateau, a sprawling volcanic region that features three active cones: Ijen (2,368m), Merapi (2,800m) and Raung (3,332m). When riders do start scaling the slopes in earnest on the third day of racing, they regrettably will fall a few hundred metres short of Ijen s summit. This is what they would find should they venture there another time:

Image: Wonderful Indonesia , Indonesia s official tourism website

Past winners of the race are Choi Ki Ho (2012) who famously turned down a contract with ORICA-GreenEDGE and now owns a bicycle storage business with his partner in Hong Kong, Mirsamad Pourseyedi Golakhor (2013) who has an unenviable reputation in the cycling media as being equal parts victor and villain, and returning champion Peter Pouly (2014) who hails from France but now lives in Thailand running training camps and seemingly enjoying a great life.

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WEATHER
Maximum temperatures should linger within a stable 30-35 C range during the week of the race whilst, overnight, temperatures will drop into the low 20?s. High temperatures and humidity shouldn t really be a bother, given most of the 83-strong field either lives in equatorial Asia or is coming from summer where they live.

GC PREDICTION
Before he was scratched from the provisional start list, this was going to Francisco Mancebo s (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling) race to lose. Pouly (Singha Infinite Cycling team) and Tabriz Shahrdari s Hossein Alizadeh will be the main threats.

TEAMS BREAKDOWN
As per article 2.1.005 of the UCI regulations, the 2015 Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen is open to the following teams: UCI Professional Continental, UCI Continental, National, Regional and Club. In accordance with article 2.2.003, teams must have a minimum of four, and maximum of eight, riders the actual number being set by the organiser, which for TdBI is five riders per team. Of the 99 starters, 29 riders are registered with the Indonesian Cycling Federation, whilst 79 come from federations attached to the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC). Half of non-ACC zone riders come from either Spain or Australia.

START LIST
The team table and final start list are below [updated 06.05]. The excellent procyclingstats.com website has also populated the current start list in a user-friendly and interactive way.

LEADER S JERSEYS

Four jerseys will be awarded at the conclusion of each stage:

Leader of General Classification Yellow Leader of Points Classification Green Leader of King of the Mountains (KOM) Classification Polka Dots

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Leader of best Indonesian Rider Classification Red and White

PRIZE MONEY
This year s overall purse of IDR700,000,000 (~USD54,200) is on par with the prize money from previous year s editions, with the distribution across classifications as follows:

Overall winner (individual) = IDR43,750,000 (USD3,360) Overall team = IDR32,500,000 (USD2,500) Overall KOM = IDR9,000,000 (USD700) Overall Points = IDR9,000,000 (USD700) Overall Indonesian Rider = IDR9,000,000 (USD700)

Stage winner = IDR13,000,000 (USD1,000)

MEDIA OUTREACH
Underneath the clean exterior of the official Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen website is a fairly bare-bones cache of race information; there is no race history, no embedded Twitter feed [CiQ: as of 02 May, there is!] and no truly unique content. The race promotion video (below) which is inexplicably cast to the bottom of the home page starts off as a slick production, overlaid with a dramatic score and splicing in some trick transitions and graphics, but it feels like the editor grew a little impatient to finish the three minute clip. If there are any daily video highlights, they will be found at the race s YouTube Channel.

In addition to the website, the race s Facebook page (here) seems to act only as a placeholder. The much better destination is the official FB for Banyuwangi. On Twitter, it s a similar story the account linked to the race website (here) is sporadic and has a small following, whereas the Banyuwangi Twitter feed is much more lively. Images are also popping up on Instagram. UPDATE 06.05: live stream here

Speaking of coupling social with media, Cycling iQ has been trying in vain to be included on the race s international media mailing list, but to no avail. While it is hoped daily images and race reports will be available here, unsuccessful attempts at covering the race in 2012 and 2013 (due to non-responsiveness from the organiser) do not augur well.

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STAGES AND PROFILES

Stage 1 | RTH Glenmore Taman Blambangan, 167 Km
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 (starts 10:00 local time)

Stage 2 | RTH Maron Taman Blambangan, 145.7 KmThursday, 07 May 2015 (starts 10:00 local time)


Stage 3 | PI Muncar Paltuding, Ijen, 123 Km

Friday, 08 May 2015 (starts 08:00 local time)

Stage 4 | RTH Bajulmati Taman Blambangan, 109.5 Km
Saturday, 09 May 2015 (starts 12:00 local time)

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