Commonwealth Games tryout held as Brown wins Tour de Delhi
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Commonwealth Games tryout held as Brown wins Tour de Delhi

by VeloNation Press at 12:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Race is next step towards UCI-ranked national tour of India

Arran BrownInternational cycling came to India today when Arran Brown headed a RSA Team Medscheme one-two in the Tour de Delhi. The South African rider proved quickest of what had originally been a nine-man breakaway to take the 1.2-ranked Indian race.

Brown beat Malcolm Lange and Maint Berkenbosch (Netherlands) to the line at the end of a humid two hours, 105 kilometres of racing. Kevin Maine (Team Belgium) rolled in nine seconds later, while his team-mate Kristof Dereeper punctured inside the final kilometres and trailed in 21 seconds behind.

A trio of chasers finished two and a half minutes back, with the peloton close behind those.

The contest was held as a test event for the Commonwealth Games road race, which will be held on many of the same roads in early October. The original intention was to use exactly the same circuit, but the organisers decided to shorten the lap to 9.8 kilometres in order to line it with barriers and make things more secure for the riders.

The peloton covered ten of those circuits today, with the break going three laps in and then later splitting into two groups. Lange picked up enough intermediate sprints to win that competition, while his team-mate Brown pipped him to take the main prize.

“The race was a great success,” said race director David McQuaid. “It was a great thing for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, as we really tested every aspect of the course and set up so any changes that need to be in place will be. I'm very happy with a South African winner, too, as it gives credibility to what we are doing here - bringing all levels of International riders and nationalities to race in India.”

Part of the motivation for running such events is to promote the sport in the country, and that aim was also met. “The whole day was very successful, with the national race and the mass participation events going off well too,” he explained. “I was happy too, that many of the 6000 mass participation riders remained to watch the 1.2 event, as this was evidence that the interest has grown since our event in Mumbai, where we had fewer spectators.”

Apart from those who watched it firsthand, the race will also be seen by a potential audience of 150 million in all. ESPN China and ESPN Hong Kong screened it live to 113 million today, while ESPN India will run delayed coverage later and help to showcase the sport.


Building towards future:

Today’s event follows on from the similarly-ranked Tour de Mumbai earlier this year, and is the next step in a bid to ultimately run a national tour in the country. After the Commonwealth Games road and track events, the focus will turn to organising two one-day events to be held in Mumbai between January 28th and 30th.

McQuaid said that he and others have been working for some time on attracting top-level squads and riders. “We’ve been talking to teams and lots of them are interested,” he stated. “We have explained that we are located right after the Tour Down Under and are doing two events with a comfortable hotel prior to the races and in between. We’ve applied for 1.1 status for those, and will find out with the calendar release in Melbourne. A lot of teams were very interested, and a lot of teams who wouldn’t send their teams from Australia were going to send out their Tour of Qatar team.

“The aim is to have up to five ProTour teams, and at least two. We are trying to get firm commitments from them now, and are already dealing with a lot of Pro Continental teams.”

The push to develop cycling will expand over the next few years. 2012 will see those two Mumbai events develop into more 1.1-ranked events, while in four to five years it is planned that a 2.1 national tour UCI will be held. Longer term, the ultimate goal is to host the UCI road world championships, thus furthering the UCI’s aims of globalisation and international development of the sport.

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Tour de Delhi, 1.2 (India, 29 Aug):

1, Arran Brown (Team Medscheme) 98 kilometres in 2 hours 5 mins 14 secs
2, Malcolm Lange (Team Medsceme)
3, Maint Berkenbosch (Team Holland) both same time
4, Kevin Maine (Team Belgium) at 9 secs
5, Kristof Dereeper (Team Belgium) at 21 secs
6, Thijs Poelestra (Team Holland) at 2 mins 32 secs
7, Thomas Martinez (7 Eleven)
8, Caklderon Joel (7 Eleven) both same time
9, Johannes Rabie (Team Medscheme) at 2 mins 48 secs
10, Hassan Suhardi (Malaysian national team) same time

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