World Wide Cycling
The Marco Polo Cycling Club has to defend the victory from last year in the Tour du Faso 2002 (report from Tour du Faso 2001). This stage race in Burkina Faso in Africa has become a legendary race. The circumstances are really hard, with temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius. The race is being organised by the Societe du Tour de France in cooperation with the Burkinese Cycling Federation.
The publicity of this event is huge. Last year the 1 hour documentary of this event was broadcasted all over the world, several national stations in Europe, Eurosport, OLN (USA). The team that raced in december
last year in Hong Kong saw their teammates in the Tour du Faso on the Asian sports channel!
The Marco Polo Cycling Club will be looking out for talented African cyclists. We hope to have some strong African riders in next years Marco Polo Cycling Team, Trade Team 3.
Marco Polo Cycling Club in Burkina Faso, Africa. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
Race program 2002:
stage 1 Ziniaré - Koudougou 141,5
stage 2 Ouagadougou - Po 142,5 km
stage 4 Kokologho - Boromo 136 km
stage 5 Houndé - Bobo Dioulasso 121,5 km
stage 6 Bobo Dioulasso - Banfora 86,5 km
stage 7 Ouagadougou - Koupéla 138,5 km
stage 8 Koupéla - Fada N'Gourma 82 km
stage 9 Laye - Ouahigouya 152 km
stage 10 Ouahigouya - Yako 72 km
stage 11 Yako - Ouagadougou 127,5 km
by Remko Kramer
flew out from Paris to Ouagadougou, the capitol of Burkina Faso. At the airport
we found out that two members of the team were not listed for this flight. The
time of departure was getting near, but the check-in was still in full action.
At the end the two also got a ticket and we could go to the plane. Here they
found out that they had checked in a few people too much. So a few people were
taken by another plane to Marseille, were we had a "short" stop-over.
Somewhere in the south of Tunis we had another stop for some fuel and with about
6 hours delay we arrived in Burkina Faso in the evening. We met our helper,
Pascal Sawadogo at the airport. People from the Societe du Tour de France, the
organiser of this race, welcomed us and took us to the hotel.
had one day to acclimatise to the burning heat here in Burkina Faso. Coming from
the Netherlands at the end of Oktober with temperatures bellow 10 degrees makes
this pretty hard. We choose to go for a 2 hour training and some easy riding
through town afterwards. A camera team that shoots a documentary about this race
(also for Eurosport) followed our training and had an interview with last years
winner Joost Legtenberg while we were riding.
we come we notice that Joost has become a famous person here after last years
victory. Also the Marco Polo Cycling Club is a well known team and cyclists and
followers expect a lot from us.
the evening there was a team presentation. This was at the S.I.A.O. the main
product show on African Art, this is only once in two years and this year in
Burkina Faso. First there were African pop music artist at the
podium and later the teams.
Last years winner Joost Legtenberg (with number 1) at the start. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
team of the Marco Polo Cycling Club suffered in the first stage of the Tour du
Faso that started today. Last year's winner Joost Legtenberg lost several
minutes to Saadoune from Maroc (last year's number two), who took the first
stage victory. The Marco Polo team with Dutchmen Joost Legtenberg, Folkert De
Haan, Maint Berkenbosch, Remko Kramer; Belgium Lionel Syne and Burkinabe
Abdoulay Ouedragou (substitution for Kenyan David Kinja, who didn't make it to
Burkina) had to accept the fact that Saadoune was way stronger then the rest of
the field and saw that the main competition for the Maroccan will come from the
strongest Burkina rider Pafadnam, who was strongly supported by his Spanish
team. Crosswinds and the heat made the first stage a very hard one.
the next days the Marco Polo team will concentrate on stage wins and try to help
their Burkina team mate Ouedragou.
Legtenberg: "This was a very hard stage, the race kept on going it never
calmed down. It will be impossible to go on racing like this in this heat. Maybe
this will be the hardest stage of the whole tour, but it came too early for us.
We were not well acclimatised yet."
de Haan: "This is a bad situation for the General Classification. I am
the best classified now and I am 2 minutes down. It will be very hard to play a
serious role for the G.C."
1 Ziniaré - Koudougou 141,5 km
01. SAADOUNE Abdelati MAR MAR en 3h 08' 52"
MARIEN Christof BEL ALI à 01' 37"
ZONGO Laurent BUR BFA à 01' 37"
GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB à 01' 37"
ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR BFA à 01' 37"
12. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 02' 02"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC à 06' 15"
48. BERKENBOSCH Maint NED MPC à 06' 20"
50. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 06' 20"
KRAMER Remko NED MPC à 15' 13"
start of the second stage was in Ouagadougou. In the streets of Ouagadougou
there were spectators lined up along the roads. People had climed on houses,
trucks and in trees to see the Tour du Faso pass by. Folkert had become sick at
night and was not feeling good at all. We tried to keep him out of the wind
sometimes and encouraged him to go on. He was our best man on G.C.
were some break-aways halfway and we also tried to get away. The Moroccans
controlled the race well and had everything together with 15 km to go. Then the
race was open and the peloton got split. Lionel and Joost stayed well in front
but missed the first group.
2 Ouagadougou - Po 142,5 km
01. ED DAIYF Tayeb MAR MAR en 3h 30' 38"
ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR BFA à 00' 00"
LECOQ Alexandre FRA ISE à 00' 03"
SERRANO Ricardo ESP CAB à 00' 40"
GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB à 00' 40"
13. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à 01' 16"
26. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 01' 16"
KRAMER Remko NED MPC à 02' 35"
BERKENBOSCH Maint NED MPC à 02' 35"
DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 02' 35"
the stage we stayed in Po, 20 km from the border to Ghana. The organisation had
built a tent camp, complete with shower cabins and a mobile kitchen. This
evening many people got sick, we could here them from different directions. Also
Folkert was feeling bad, Maint got sick and I, Remko had my stomach upset.
stage was going to be a hard one for Folkert, Maint and me. We could not eat
breakfast and felt really bad. But this can happen in Africa and there is only
one way and that is to race.
had big problems and had to give up before he fell off his bicycle from
dizziness. I could roll along in the field but felt like I was looking at a
movie. Folkert also stayed in the bunch.
(By Lionel Syne)
3rd stage: After 2 hard first stages,I was finally feeling good...I've been attacking all day long but it didn't work and 10km before the finish, we were all together. Most of our guys were sick but fortunately my best bet for a perfect lead-out, Joost, was on my side. The Moroccan team started to lift the pace up and I indicated to Joost to stay behind them as long as we thought they would work hard to keep their leader in front. I was totally pumped and was confident that one was mine... As we were reaching the 1k to go the pace was super high and only a few Africans and a couple of Spanish guys were able to stay in contention. 400meters, time to go as riders try to come around us. I yelled to Joost to open up and that gave us directly a small gap... the road is all open and I cannot believe how easy that will be after that perfect tactic... 200 to go, Joost merge to the right and in a few pedal strokes, I assume I have 3 bikes lengths on the others and take the time to raise both arms... first victory for the team! That will give moral for everyone but unfortunately, Maint has left the race, too sick to go on...
3 Po - Kombissiri 105,5 km
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 2h 28' 45"
PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB 00' 00"
GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 00' 00"
SANFO Seydou BUR BFA 00' 00"
ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR BFA 00' 00"
08. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 00"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 00' 00"
31. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 00' 00"
KRAMER Remko NED MPC 09' 28"
BERKENBOSCH Maint NED MPC
last kilometres were unendless to me. I was dizzy and sick and got crazy from
the extreme heat. Drinking had become impossible and I was so happy to finish.
Henk the soigneur took me to a place in the shadow. Here I threw up.
in the hotel I was running empty from two sides at the same time.
(By Lionel Syne)
4th stage: got a good night and hope for the best after yesterday's win. The Moroccan's looked pretty impressive so far but it was time to see if we could gain some time back... After only 30k, things are already getting serious with the first attacks. Hesitations from the leaders team make me think there's something to try and the soonest will be the best. As we caught the first breakaway, another one is going right away... by the time I realise who's in it they have 20 seconds. That's the one, and I launch a counter-attack with a Burkinabe rider. After a good 5k pursuit, we finally caught them and the group is looking good: a Moroccan, a Spanish (Guiterrez, 3rd at world's in U23), 2 French from different teams, a Burkinabe from A team, another from B team and...Marco Polo. Almost everyone is working and the gap grows quickly to 4 minutes...by then, the Spanish guy is virtual leader and with 15k to go, we hear the yellow jersey is closing the gap.
I attack and look around, the French Lecoq.. damn it! We're now looking at each other and with 3k to go, the leader's teamate, who logically didn't work, attacked and no one seemed ready to pull for others after a 90k breakaway. The sprint for second started early with French guy going with 1k thinking he didn't have a chance on the last rush. Using his speed and others 'time to react' by looking who was gonna go, I jumped as hard as I could to go taking the second place. The yellow jersey came 40 sec later and the field, with other Marco Polo riders, almost 4 minutes back. Not a bad day, but now I'm sure that will be hard to go for the GC...
4 Kokologho - Boromo 136 km
01. HARAKI Tarik MAR MAR en 3h 14' 39"
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à 00' 41"
RIBOT Christophe FRA EUR à 00' 41"
OUEDRAOGO Tidiane BUR BFB à 00' 41"
DUBOT Vincent FRA PAN à 00' 47"
16. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 03' 33"
35. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 03' 33"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC à 08' 31"
KRAMER Remko NED MPC
Lionel in the pink sprint jersey and Abdoulay relaxing in the sun before the start. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
5 Houndé - Bobo Dioulasso 121,5 km
DUBOT Vincent FRA PAN en 3h 14' 11"
SAWADOGO G. Hamidou BUR BFB à 00' 02"
SANFO Seydou BUR BFA à 00' 27"
04. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 00' 27"
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à 00' 27"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC à 00' 27"
6 Bobo Dioulasso - Banfora 86,5 km
SAWADOGO G. Hamidou BUR BFB en 2h 13' 07"
SARTORI Franck FRA ISE à 00' 03"
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à 00' 16"
PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB à 00' 16"
GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB à 00' 16"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC à 00' 16"
26. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 00' 16"
55. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 00' 16"
Folkert de Haan)
Today was a rest day. We slept in our hotel in Ouagadougou until 8 A.M. that was very nice. Normally, on racing days, we were waked up at 6 A.M. Because we were late today, there was no breakfast any more in the hotel that was a pity. So we ate some mueslibars as breakfast. After that, we went to Pascal's home, on bicycle. Pascal is a Burkinese cyclist who was not selected for this years Tour, he helped our team with all kinds of practical things. Pascal showed us his 'home': a cabin with a mud wall and an earthen floor, with only one living room. The roof consisted of chipboard. We were impressed by this poverty. The temperatures were very high that day. On our 'training-stage' through Ouagadougou (more than one million inhabitants), we saw a lot of strange things, it was a strange experience. We saw for example taxicabs packed with people: some of them were even sitting on the roof. After a couple of hours of training we returned to our hotel. We were glad we were back again: the air-conditioning relieved us from the heat outside.
Today's stage of 138,5 kilometers headed towards Koupela, we started in Ouagadougou. From the beginning attacks were made, everybody was nervous. All the not-Moroccan riders were determined to challenge the Moroccan cyclists. They had been very strong until that stage - with Moroccan Saadoune still as Tour du Faso GC number one. About half-stage this resulted in an argument between a Burkinabe cyclist and a Moroccan. The Moroccan pushed the Burkinabe violently off road, but was suspended immediately. After this incident, the stage re-began. A group of four riders escaped, from our team Joost was among them. But the Moroccan riders increased the speed of the peloton and took over the four cyclists in front. At the end the first group consisted of only 20 riders. In the last kilometer I (Folkert) tried to escape from the decreased bunch, that succeeded, but one other rider, Burkinabe Sawadogo (stage 6 winner) jumped away too, and caught me back. We had to sprint and Sawadogo won, I was second. This was my chance to win a stage; I was disappointed about my second place. Joost was disappointed too; he won the peloton sprint and finished third.
7 Ouagadougou - Koupéla 138,5 km
SAWADOGO G. Hamidou BUR BFB en 3h 22' 32"
02. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 00' 00"
03. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 00' 03"
GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB à 00' 03"
PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB à 00' 03"
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à 00' 03"
day we had a short stage, 82 kilometers, from Koupela to Fada N'Gourma. Everyone
expected a peloton sprint, but two riders managed to escape, Burkinabe Ouedraogo
and French rider Lebaron. However, Lionel won this stage points classification,
because he finished after Ouedraogo (winner) and Lebaron (second) on the third
place, winning the sprint of the bunch. Joost finished sixth.
The Burkinese people love cycling and the Tour du Faso is the most important sports event of the country. Here you can see some men totally dressed up in the national colours of Burkina Faso. On their motorcycles they drove in front of the race and celebrated with the spectators. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
8 Koupéla - Fada N'Gourma 82 km
OUEDRAOGO Abdoul Salam BUR BFB en 1h 56' 26"
LEBARON S bastien FRA PAN à 00' 00"
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à 00' 16"
GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB à 00' 16"
PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB à 00' 16"
06. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 00' 16"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC à 00' 16"
60. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 00' 16"
spend the last 6 days in bed at the hotel, I had been so sick. But yesterday I
had enough food again and I really wanted to see the race again.
was a good stage to follow in the car. In the beginning there was some action
already. The Spanish leader in the green jersey and direct opponent from Lionel
had a flat tire and it looked like he would never be able to come back. Then
Saadoune in the yellow jersey also had a flat tire. The Moroccans waited of
course for him and brought him and the green jersey back in the peloton.
the last 15 km Folkert went in a break with 4. As soon as there was enough time
difference we went to him to tell him to stay in the last position. He had the
two best sprinters of the peloton in the group behind him so he could wait.
we returned to the peloton Joost flatted and we brought him back as far as we
could. But Joost had used a lot of energy in this chase. In the last kilometre
the group with Folkert got caught and Joost pulled the sprint for Lionel.
Folkert who was still fresh took over and Lionel won with two lengths. Then
Lionel sprinted further and rushed behind a billboard. Camera teams ran after
him but turned away their cameras. Lionel already had problems during the race
and had to loose his diarrhoea immediately after the finish. Maybe it even made
him sprint faster…
Lionel at the podium after winning his second stage. He doesen't wear his
cycling shorts anymore because his stomach had also been sprinting this stage...
(Photographer: Remko Kramer)
Legtenberg: “The plan was to work for me in case of a field sprint. But
after my flat tire in the last 10 kilometres I had to chase and lost a lot of
power. So I told Lionel that I would lead him out and that worked out
9 Laye - Ouahigouya 152 km
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC en 4h 01' 13"
GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB à 00' 00"
PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB à 00' 00"
SAADOUNE Abdelati MAR MAR à 00' 00"
DE REEPER Franky BEL ALI à 00' 00"
06. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 00' 00"
30. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 00' 16"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC à 16' 40"
really hoped on a stage win for Joost. This would attract some extra attention
in the Dutch media and Joost would become a national hero in Burkina Faso
This rather short stage had some cross winds in the beginning. Weak and sick cyclists got dropped soon, but the peloton stayed together.
Halfway the stage, Frenchman Franck Sartori went solo. It didn’t look serious in the beginning but then he gained almost 2 minutes and we were getting nervous. Folkert had to go to the front and pulled the peloton. There was not much help but we got closer. Then Joost had a flat tire again. We had a superfast wheel change and we took Joost behind the car. He was so motivated that the speed went over 60 kmph and he came back. But the Frenchman was too far away and he could win the stage. Three cyclists got away in the last KM and Lionel and Joost won the fieldsprint.
10 Ouahigouya - Yako 72 km
01. SARTORI Franck FRA ISE en 1h 34' 10"
02. HARAKI Tarik MAR MAR à 00' 52"
03. VERMEULEN Franck FRA PAN à 00' 52"
IBOULDO Jean BUR BFB à 00' 52"
05. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à 00' 54"
06. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC à 00' 54"
28. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC à 00' 54"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC à 09' 03"
Folkert, Joost and Abdoulay resting and drinking after a stage. The cyclists are a big attraction for the schoolkids. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
The tent camp was built just outside of Yako under the trees. This made it very nice without the extreme heat of the direct sunlight.
last stage of the Tour du Faso finished in the capital, Ouagadougou. The peloton
stayed together and arrived at the 4 KM finish laps in the centre of town.
Thousands of people were waiting for the Tour to arrive. When the first cars
arrived the spectators got really excited but policemen made sure the roads
stayed clear. When the cyclists arrived people were clapping, shouting and
the 4 laps at the circuit many riders tried to get away encouraged by the loud
cheering of the spectators. But the speed was so high that nobody could get
away. So it came down to a field sprint. Folkert brought Lionel and Joost to the
front. Lionel is the faster sprinter, but he already won two stages and we
really hoped for a stage win for Joost. Lionel pulled the sprint and Joost came
over him with 100 metres to go. But the Burkinese also did a lead-out and at the
finish line Sa Dou Rouamba beat Joost.
spectators were going crazy and broke through the cordon of policemen. First the
bicycle of Roumamba was flying in the air above the crowd, then also Rouamba was
thrown up in the air all the time. This was a national celebration in Burkina
The Tour du Faso in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. The Morrocans lead and control the field. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
Legtenberg: “Lionel pulled the sprint so hard. I came over him and thought
I was going to win. Then the Burkinese came up on my left side and beat me at
11 Yako - Ouagadougou 127,5 km
1. ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR
3h 21' 37"
2. LEGTENBERG Joost NED
SANFO Seydou BUR
SYNE Lionel BEL MPC à
PAFADNAM Hamado BUR
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR
30. DE HAAN Folkert NED
General Classification overall
1. SAADOUNE Abdelati
en 32h 09' 44"
LECOQ Alexandre FRA
PAFADNAM Hamado BUR
ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR
ED DAIYF Tayeb MAR
7. SYNE Lionel BEL
13. DE HAAN Folkert NED
16. LEGTENBERG Joost
à 09' 47"
OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR
Burkina Faso A
Marco Polo Cycling Club
SYNE, Lionel - Marco Polo Cycling Club
GALDOS, Aitor - Café Baguet Espagna
PAFADNAM, Hamado - Café Baguet Espagna
the evening the Tour du Faso was ended with a closing ceremony. At two big
stages the officials held their speeches and artists their performances. These
stages had been used all Tour for the parties in the finishing cities. Winners
of stages and classifications received really big trophies. Lionel had to get
one 4 times! For his two stages, the points and the sprint classification.
the morning we left for the airport. A big line of people was already waiting.
We also joined the line and were standing outside the airport. A few hours later
we moved up to check in and one hour later we could go further for boarding.
With about 4 hours delay we flew back to Europe. A great African adventure in