This is perhaps one of Asia’s seriously fun road stage race you’ll ever experience. Expats from all over Asia fly in specifically for this event that has been going since 1998.
DOWNLOAD: OPEN REGISTRATION LIST
Cycling Tips, with Wade Wallace at the helm, provided great coverage of this 5-day stage event in 2011 and Wallace has sung high praises of the event; ranking it perhaps the most favorite event he’s ever done.
This 2013 edition is shaping up to be one of the biggest yet, with over 80 riders registered in the OPEN category. The open category just keep getting increasingly popular each year as more riders seek to challenge themselves. This is a great growth curve when you consider only 14 registered in OPEN in 2010, and 35 in 2011. For open registered riders, the list can be found here. The official website of the Tour here
To read about Cycling Tips account of the Tour in 2011, check out the following links:
Excerpt from Cycling Tips which perfectly sums up Wallace’s unique experience and highlights.
“A few things I’ve never experienced before while racing over here in Thailand:
1. Calling out “elephant up!” and “monkey left!”.
2. Racing through the heaviest rain I’ve ever experienced.
3. Thai street food waiting for you at the end of every stage. Sensational!
4. Some serious hours racked up on the massage GC. Where else can you get a 3hr massage for $10? I’m virtually on par with riding time versus massage time.
5. Ice cream scooter selling popsicles while in the breakaway. This guy could have charged anything for one of those things. Next time I’ll bring money with me during the race.
6. Such a competitive bunch of riders who are racing for the Asian Expat World Championships. I loved the passion and assertive racing out of every single rider. If it had been easy it wouldn’t have been any fun.”
WHO TO WATCH?
At this 2013 Edition, there are a number of good riders coming to spice up the competition, especially in the open category with more than 80 riders reputed to be taking to the start line. DirectAsia.com has fielded a large team of 10 riders and will be one of the teams to keep your eye on, although there could be some serious competition from India’s nine riders representing Specialized Kynkyny Cycling team that is on target to become India’s first registered UCI Contental team! Other notable teams include eight riders from Hong Kong’s Pro-Bike CS racing team; the Lapierre Asia Cycling Team led by newly recruited Lee Rodgers; Cannasia Cannondale, Specialized Mavericks and ANZA from Singapore; and the Japanese Team CB. There is also a few teams from Mainland China including the newly formed TROPIX-CRONUS team that debuted at Tour of East Taiwan, Specialized China’s Taylor Price, and FHL Shanghai.
While there are a number of a highly competitive teams to create a very interesting race for 2013, there are a number of individual riders that could shake things up. Frenchie Peter Pouly is one of these riders. Pouly has an excellent climbing pedigree, claiming a second place at Taiwan’s KOM Challenge in 2012 and currently holds the Strava KOM up the Alpe_d’Huez with a very quick time of 38.20, less than a minute behind Lance himself! While this year’s edition of the Friendship Tour does not feature many long climbs like previous editions, there are countless short steep climbs on a couple of stages that Pouly could come to the fore, however not without stiff competition from the strong peloton.
CCN’s Lewis Fellas is another rider that is alone but is showing some fine form, finishing 4th on the final day of the East Taiwan Tour last week. Fella’s possesses a great ability for time-trialing and could be in yellow on the first day after the prologue and has the power climbing ability to back it up over the later stages. With the prologue only 7kms, time gaps will only be several seconds apart and with no time trial equipment allowed (except for clip-on bars), the competition will be evened out and other riders like Lee Rodgers, Adam Taylor-Campbell (DirectAsia.com), Robert Hensby (Cannasia-Cannondale) or Matthew Kinch (Specialized-Mavericks) have a chance to topple Fellas. Gary Loafman, a time-trial specialist, representing TROPIX-Cronus also has an outside chance for the podium.
7km PROLOGUE course – very fast with average speed of winner expected to be 45-50km/h.
Lee Rodgers will be cranking on here in Thailand with his Crank Punk blog coverage and Makoto Ayano from CycloWired Japan will be providing Japanese coverage. Bikedan in Asia is also back for the third time, and will provide some coverage on his website. Any other bloggers that will be covering this event, please send DJC MEDIA your links if you wish to be included.
DJC MEDIA will be bringing you daily reports, results and photos each day for the next five days.
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