Tour de Singkarak international bike race in 2014 or the 6th of its kind will take place in Indonesias province of West Sumatra from June 7 through 15, and participated in by 18 teams.
The start of the annual racing event on Saturday (June 7) or first stage of nine stages was preceded by a grand opening at Tiram Beach, Pariaman District on Friday evening (June 6) which was also attended by Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu.
Meanwhile, the 9th stage will finish in the provincial capital of Padang on June 15.
The grand opening was highlighted with the beating of the locally called Tasa drums by Minister Pangestu along with the West Sumatra governor Irwan Prayitno and Padang Pariaman regent, H. Ali Mukhni.
The organizing committee of the TdS during the grand opening also will feature the noted Nidji musical band.
In addition, the organizing committee featured the collaboration of traditional art musics such as "Gandang Tambuar, Dampiang, Indang, Bakiak, Gendang Tasa, and Rabab Piaman"
Last year, Tour de Singkarak started in Bukittinggi with glamorous opening ceremony.
The Padang Pariaman district administration also prepared the necessary things to make the TdS a success.
This year, twenty teams of the Tour de Singkarak (TdS) including the foreign ones will pass through 18 districts / cities, including Pasaman Barat District which was excluded last year.
In 2013, the cyclists passed through 17 districts/cities in the province, namely the cities of Padang, Pariaman, Padang Panjang, Bukittinggi, Payakumbuh, Sawahlunto and Solok, then the districts of Padangpariaman, Agam, Pasaman, Tanah Datar, Limapuluh Kota, Solok, Pesisir Selatan, Sijunjung, Dharmasraya and Solok Selatan.
The event altogether extended over nine stages, during which the participants will cover 1,250 kilometers.
The cyclists taking part in the first stage (116 kms) on June 7 started from the front of the Padang Pariaman District office, will then spend the night in Bukittinggi city.
The West Sumatra provincial government has provided total prize money worth Rp1.3 billion or higher compared with that of Rp 1,2 billion last year.
The TdS, which was firstly held in 2009 has become an annual agenda for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
In the meantime, Minister Pangestu hoped that the TdS will cause West Sumatra more popular as the favorite tourists destination in Indonesia.
"Because TDS has become an international bicycle racing event and included in the international calendar, it has made West Sumatra as an international tourist destination," she stated.
The integrated tourism promotion through the TdS is also expected to develop the implementation of the bike race.
Meanwhile, governor Irwan Prayitno stated "We do not mind if one time the TdS area can be expanded to other parts of Indonesia, but of course it still bears the name of Tour de Singkarak."
Singkarak Lake (which has lent its name to the bicycle race) is approximately 21 km long and 7 km wide, extending over an area of 107.8 km; it is a popular tourist destination in West Sumatra.
Meanwhile, secretary to Agam District government, Syafirman said on Thursday (June 5) that tourist resorts in the Lawang Park and the "Kelok 44" or 44 bends in the hills above Lake Maninjau is expected to attract the attention of foreign visitors especially during the TdS event.
Apart from that, Ghader Mizbani has an opportunity to defend his last years championship title after the Iranian Tabriz Petrochemical Team racer also takes part in the 2014 prestigious TDS.
"The competition will definitely be better, because a lot of experienced racers participated in this years event," said Sapta Nirwandar, deputy Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy.
The participating countries in this years Tour de Singkarak are
Malaysia, Tunisia, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, Iran, Singapore, Argentina, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Netherlands, South Korea, United States, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, England, the Philippines, Morocco, Moldova, Japan and the host Indonesia.