Tour de Timor 2012

Stage 4 - Back through Indonesia again

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Peter Wall | September 13 2012 | no comments

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(Photo: Kate Paneros)

Today’s stage was the reverse of stage two. It started on the dusty and bumpy roads of the Timor Leste region of Oecussi, crossed into Indonesia for 70km, and then ended just inside the border of Timor Leste.

The race was fairly simple. The 20 top riders broke away from everyone else early on, and halfway through the stage the Australian rider Peter Kutschera and the Malaysian rider Mohd Salley broke away. They worked together on the smooth Indonesian road, and built a comfortable lead over the others. With 200 metres to go to the finish, Mohd Salley pulled ahead and went on for the stage win. You can see all race results on the Tour de Timor website.

One of the challenges of this year’s Tour was organizing all the correct documents for 580 riders, volunteers and media to cross from one country into another. Add to this the complexity of doing it without stopping at the border posts in the middle of a race, and you get a sense of the challenge! This afternoon I went with Mel Horne, international liason for the Tour, as she crossed back into Indonesia to pick-up the 572 passports Indonesian immigration officials have been holding since the Tour crossed the border on Tuesday. Mel has been working for weeks to make sure both border posts had the right papers, and on Monday spent a 12-hour day with four volunteers filling out thousands of customs and immigration forms for the riders and volunteers. Today was pick-up day. After a nice chat with the Indonesians, Mel counted each and every passport and the Indonesian immigration guys loaded them into her waiting vehicle. That was one big box of passports!

As for the Jungle Run team and the rest of the media… well, everyone seems to be holding up okay. Kate Paneros, one of the still photographers who is here on her first tour says the past four days “feels like four weeks, in a good way. So much happens each day.” Today was the first day she rode backwards on a motorbike: “It was a good vantage point to shoot from because it’s a point of view you can’t can’t anywhere else… a few bumps but my driver was good.” She has also climbed a tree each day to get a different shot, and today did it again. “Today I needed a very specific tree, one that hung over the road with a strong enough branch to hold me. And the road had to be going in a certain direction so that the shadows from the riders was 90 degrees. The first tree I climbed had too much foliage… but the second tree was just right. And I got the shot that I wanted. The Indonesian spectators took a lot of photos of me in the tree, and gave me a can of coke as a reward.” What a great story! Here’s the shot she took.

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(Photo: Kate Paneros)

Tomorrow will be crazy. Stage 5, 119km long, huge climbs. Everyone is talking about how they are going to avoid being picked up by the Sag Wagon, even the experienced riders. Better get to bed early…

Here’s another shot from Kate Paneros (from the tree).

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(Photo: Kate Paneros)

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