Cyclists from 42 countries and regions have settled the qualification round of Gran Fondo World Series amateur cycling championship in Tour de Bintan held in Indonesian island of Bintan over the weekend.
In the bicycle race sanctioned by Switzerland-based Unite Cycliste Internationale (UCI), 1,053 cyclists took part in the qualifying round, collecting points towards the final round slated for August in Albi, France.
Held in Indonesia's tropical island, the iconic Tour de Bintan, one of the Southeast Asia's premier amateur stage races, gained recognition this year as it became one of 19 global stops on the UCI Gran Fondo World Series (GFWS) calendar.
To earn the precious golden tickets to the worlds, cyclists taking part in the Tour de Bintan had to finish in the top 25 percent of their age groups in the Individual Time Trial (ITT), or the Gran Fondo Classic group.
Jarred Anderson, Jon White, Amanda Nabi, Yiwei Luo and Serene Lee booked the fastest time to pass through various courses contended in men and women groups in the event.
The best teams resulted from 2017 Tour de Bintan cycling championship were Project 852, Specialized Mavericks and Domes Coffees Cycling for men's group and Strive Cycle Training, NTS SG, ANZA for women's group.
Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya hailed the success of Bintan to hold the sports tourism event from Friday to Sunday, highly expected to increase the arrival of visitors to the Indonesian island close to Singapore in the future.
"Those cyclists can be repeat visitors in the future as 60 percent of them would come again with their families to visit places that they had not been in their previous visit as athletes," the minister said on Monday.
Hosting sport tourism has been used by government to receive visit of more foreign visitors into the country so as to contribute the efforts to comply with targets set in tourism sector, which has been set as the nation's core business.
Besides Tour de Bintan, many Indonesian areas had also hosted world-class cycling championships and other sports tourism events.
Indonesia is now in herculean efforts to build up its tourism sector by developing more tour destinations across the country with 15 million and 20 million foreign visitors targeted this year and in 2019 respectively.