REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, BANYUWANGI -- Indonesia's Banyuwangi Race Cycling Community (BRCC) was able to field among the largest number of contestants in the international Banyuwangi Tour de Ijen 2013 competition ending here on Tuesday.
Out of 20 teams, consisting of 14 foreign and six local teams participating in the championship, BRCC was ranked third in the final rankings in the team category, recording a total time of 48 hours, 57 minutes and 17 seconds.
Muhammad Taufik and fellow racers were 9 minutes and 55 seconds behind Tabriz Petrochemical Iran, which emerged as the winner, while the second position was taken by RTS Santic Taiwan, at two minutes and 10 seconds behind.
Three of BRCC riders, meanwhile, had been able to finish among the best three of Indonesia's cyclists, including Muhammad Taufik, who was awarded the red-white jersey, veteran rider Tonton Susanto ranked second and Warseno ranked third.
The success of the BRCC team in breaking the domination of foreign racers was made in the fourth or final stage, covering 166.3 kilometers from Kalibary station to Paltuding at the Ijen Crater at 1,876 meter above the sea.
In the most difficult route, Muhammad Taufik finished ninth, with Tonton tenth and Warseno among the first 20 racers.
"We are satisfied enough with the results achieved through hard preparations before the Tour de Ijen," Taufik said after the competition.
Out of the four stages, Muhammad Taufik only failed to finish tenth once, in the third stage from Jajag to Maron on Monday.
In the first and second stages, Muhammad Taufik finished seventh to break the domination of foreign racers, and first among Indonesian racers out of six competing teams.
"Especially in the final stage, my friends and I tried to maintain our stamina by not forcing ourselves before entering the last ascending 30 kilometers before the finish line," he said.
Due to the difficult route to Paltuding in the Ijen Crater, dozens of racers had to stop and many failed to continue because of fatigue.
The holder of the yellow jersey in the first two stages, Jason Christie from the OCBC Continental Singapore, also failed to maintain his position after finishing 36th in the final stage, at more than 18 minutes behind the winner.
The Banyuwangi chapter of the Indonesian Cycling Sport Association's (ISSI) Guntur Priambodo, who is also the chief organizer of the race, said he was glad about the achievement of the BRCC team, as they proved they could compete against teams from Asia and Europe.
In the race, Tabriz Petrochemical Iran grabbed two champion titles for team and individual categories.
Tabriz's Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhair won the yellow jersey after finishing the competition's total distance of 606.5 kilometers in 16 hours, 11 minutes and 43 seconds.
Tabriz Petrochemical had won the Tour de East Java several times before, also emerged as the winner this time, and recording a total time of 48 hours 47 minutes and 22 seconds.
Rahim Emami from the RTS Santic Taiwan, who won the final stage, won the red jersey and Mohd Shahrul Mat Amin from Terengganu Cycling Malaysia won the green jersey.