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                 Tour du Faso 2002

 

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Marco Polo Cycling Club

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:

 

30/10 stage 1  Ziniar - Koudougou 141,5 km

31/10 stage 2 Ouagadougou - Po 142,5 km
01/11 stage 3 Po - Kombissiri 105,5 km

02/11 stage 4 Kokologho - Boromo 136 km

03/11 stage 5 Hound - Bobo Dioulasso 121,5 km

04/11 stage 6 Bobo Dioulasso - Banfora 86,5 km

05/11 rest day

06/11 stage 7 Ouagadougou - Koupla 138,5 km

07/11 stage 8 Koupla - Fada N'Gourma 82 km

08/11 stage 9 Laye - Ouahigouya 152 km

09/11 stage 10 Ouahigouya - Yako 72 km

10/11 stage 11 Yako - Ouagadougou 127,5 km

 

Report by Remko Kramer

 

Oktober 28

 

We 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.

 

Oktober 29

 

We 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.

Everywhere 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.

 

In 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.

 

Oktober 30

 

Last years winner Joost Legtenberg (with number 1) at the start. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)

 

 

The 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.

In the next days the Marco Polo team will concentrate on stage wins and try to help their Burkina team mate Ouedragou.

 

Joost 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."

 

Folkert 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."

 

Stage 1  Ziniar - Koudougou 141,5 km

01. SAADOUNE Abdelati MAR MAR en 3h 08' 52"

02. MARIEN Christof BEL ALI 01' 37"

03. ZONGO Laurent BUR BFA 01' 37"

04. GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 01' 37"

05. ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR BFA 01' 37"

 

12. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 02' 02"

42. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 06' 15"

48. BERKENBOSCH Maint NED MPC 06' 20"

50. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 06' 20"

63. KRAMER Remko NED MPC 15' 13"

 

Oktober 31

 

The 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.

There 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.

 

Stage 2 Ouagadougou - Po 142,5 km

 

01. ED DAIYF Tayeb MAR MAR en 3h 30' 38"

02. ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR BFA 00' 00"

03. LECOQ Alexandre FRA ISE 00' 03"

04. SERRANO Ricardo ESP CAB 00' 40"

05. GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 00' 40"

 

13. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 01' 16"

26. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 01' 16"

56. KRAMER Remko NED MPC 02' 35"

59. BERKENBOSCH Maint NED MPC 02' 35"

63. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 02' 35"

 

After 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.

 

November 1

 

This 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.

Maint 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...

 

Stage 3 Po - Kombissiri 105,5 km

 

01. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 2h 28' 45"

02. PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB 00' 00"

03. GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 00' 00"

04. SANFO Seydou BUR BFA 00' 00"

05. ROUAMBA Sa dou BUR BFA 00' 00"

 

08. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 00"

12. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 00' 00"

31. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 00' 00"

63. KRAMER Remko NED MPC 09' 28"

 

DNF BERKENBOSCH Maint NED MPC

 

The 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.

Back in the hotel I was running empty from two sides at the same time.

 

 

The Tour du Faso in bed... (by Remko Kramer)

After the stage I was so exhausted and sick. I tried to drink more, because I was also dehydrated from the race, but this was impossible. The next morning I woke up, felt really bad, but wanted to stay in the race. I had to eat something. I sat upright and waited a while. I drunk some water and had to run for the toilet. The Tour du Faso was over for me.

The next two days I hardly noticed myself. Once every two hours I had to run to the toilet and the rest of the time I slept. Maint who was a little less bad then me took care that I had something to drink. The next two days I was more awake and got more and more worried. Eating was simply impossible and drinking was also not enough to keep up with the loss of fluid. Now also Bert, the mechanic joined us and took care of us since Maint had become sicker. Our only entertainment was a television with two channels, but every evening a report from the stage, this was the highlight of the day. One day there was a documentary of the Tour du Senegal and we saw a Senegalese win a stage in a Marco Polo jersey! This little bit of fun was also over after a few days when the television broke down. The air-conditioning had his own will and changed temperature every once in a while.

After 4 days I started to have weird ideas and sometimes I lost my view or hearing. We called a doctor, he said I had a parasytair bacteria. He gave me 4 big pills that I had to take at once. The next morning I could eat a little bit. The next day I could walk around a little bit. This was good because now I had to take care of Maint and also Bert who had to run for the toilet as soon as he moved himself. Maint and Bert had to wait another three days before they received the right medication. This was just on time for them to be alright to travel back home.

 

 

 

November 2  

 

(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...

 

Stage 4 Kokologho - Boromo 136 km

 

01. HARAKI Tarik MAR MAR en 3h 14' 39"

02. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 00' 41"

03. RIBOT Christophe FRA EUR 00' 41"

04. OUEDRAOGO Tidiane BUR BFB 00' 41"

05. DUBOT Vincent FRA PAN 00' 47"

 

16. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 03' 33"

35. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 03' 33"

48. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 08' 31"

 

DNS KRAMER Remko NED MPC

 

November 3

 

Lionel in the pink sprint jersey and Abdoulay relaxing in the sun before the start. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)

 

 

Stage 5 Hound - Bobo Dioulasso 121,5 km

 

01. DUBOT Vincent FRA PAN en 3h 14' 11"

02. SAWADOGO G. Hamidou BUR BFB 00' 02"

03. SANFO Seydou BUR BFA 00' 27"

04. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 27"

05. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 00' 27"

 

26. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 00' 27"

 

November 4

 

Stage 6 Bobo Dioulasso - Banfora 86,5 km

 

01. SAWADOGO G. Hamidou BUR BFB en 2h 13' 07"

02. SARTORI Franck FRA ISE 00' 03"

03. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 00' 16"

04. PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB 00' 16"

05. GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 00' 16"

 

14. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 00' 16"

26. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 00' 16"

55. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 16"

 

November 5

 

(By 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.

 

November 6

 

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.

 

Stage 7 Ouagadougou - Koupla 138,5 km

 

01. SAWADOGO G. Hamidou BUR BFB en 3h 22' 32"

02. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 00' 00"

03. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 03"

04. GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 00' 03"

05. PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB 00' 03"

 

09. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 00' 03"

 

November 7 

 

This 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)

 

Stage 8 Koupla - Fada N'Gourma 82 km

 

01. OUEDRAOGO Abdoul Salam BUR BFB en 1h 56' 26"

02. LEBARON S bastien FRA PAN 00' 00"

03. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 00' 16"

04. GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 00' 16"

05. PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB 00' 16"

 

06. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 16"

40. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 00' 16"

60. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 00' 16"

 

November 8

 

I 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.

 

This 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.

 

In 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.

When 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)

 

Joost 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 perfect!

 

Stage 9 Laye - Ouahigouya 152 km

 

01. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC en 4h 01' 13"

02. GALDOS Aitor ESP CAB 00' 00"

03. PAFADNAM Hamado BUR CAB 00' 00"

04. SAADOUNE Abdelati MAR MAR 00' 00"

05. DE REEPER Franky BEL ALI 00' 00"

 

06. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 00' 00"

30. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 16"

49. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 16' 40"

 

November 9

 

We 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 forever.

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 didnt 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.

 

Stage 10 Ouahigouya - Yako 72 km

 

01. SARTORI Franck FRA ISE en 1h 34' 10"

02. HARAKI Tarik MAR MAR 00' 52"

03. VERMEULEN Franck FRA PAN 00' 52"

04. IBOULDO Jean BUR BFB 00' 52"

05. SYNE Lionel BEL MPC 00' 54"

 

06. LEGTENBERG Joost NED MPC 00' 54"

28. DE HAAN Folkert NED MPC 00' 54"

56. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye BUR MPC 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.

 

November 10

 

The 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 singing.

During 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.

The 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 Faso.

 

The Tour du Faso in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. The Morrocans lead and control the field. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)

 

Joost 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 the line.

 

Stage 11 Yako - Ouagadougou 127,5 km

 

1. ROUAMBA Sa dou  BUR  BFA  en  3h 21' 37"

2. LEGTENBERG Joost  NED  MPC    00' 00"

3. SANFO Seydou  BUR  BFA    00' 00"

4. SYNE Lionel  BEL  MPC    00' 00"

5. PAFADNAM Hamado  BUR  CAB    00' 00"

 

 

24. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye  BUR  MPC    00' 00"

30. DE HAAN Folkert  NED  MPC    00' 00"

 

 

Individual General Classification overall

 

1. SAADOUNE Abdelati  MAR  MAR  en  32h 09' 44"

2. LECOQ Alexandre  FRA  ISE    01' 09"

3. PAFADNAM Hamado  BUR  CAB    02' 40"

4. ROUAMBA Sa dou  BUR  BFA    03' 32"

5. ED DAIYF Tayeb  MAR  MAR    03' 38"

 

7. SYNE Lionel  BEL  MPC    04' 55"

13. DE HAAN Folkert  NED  MPC    08' 09"

16. LEGTENBERG Joost  NED  MPC    09' 47"

38. OUEDRAOGO Abdoulaye  BUR  MPC    46' 51"

 

 

Team G.C.

 

1. Maroc

2. Burkina Faso A

3. Marco Polo Cycling Club

 

Points Classification overall

 

1. SYNE, Lionel - Marco Polo Cycling Club

2. GALDOS, Aitor - Caf Baguet Espagna

3. PAFADNAM, Hamado - Caf Baguet Espagna

 

In 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.

 

November 11

 

In 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 our memories.

 

 

 

 

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