World Wide Cycling

                 Tour du Faso 2003



Marco Polo Cycling Club

Victory in the Tour du Faso 2003 The Marco Polo Cycling Team participated with great success in the Tour du Faso 2003 in Burkina Faso, Africa.


The colours of Africa, Red, Yellow and Green. Rutger Kock in the red "most aggressive rider" jersey, Maarten in the yellow leader jersey and Kay in the green points jersey. (Photos: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera) 


This year was the 17th Tour du Faso! That is quite a tradition for cycling in Africa. The country has some cycling history, even with pro-criteriums years ago. Italian legend, Fausto Coppi got infected with malaria in Burkina Faso, a disease from which he even died. Three years ago the Societe du Tour de France got involved and became co-organiser. 

This years Tour du Faso was from October 30 until November 9. This year the 11 stages had some parts on sandy roads again. The event is a celebration in this country, everywhere people come out to watch the race, newspapers are full with cycling and the television shows reports of the race. 

The team knew from past years that the first stage could be very important. But after arriving a day before the race, it would be very hard to race at 40 degrees Celsius! (At departure from Europe, it was freezing!). The riders prepared well with hard training on the rollers with the heater on. Dave Washburn from the USA even let his hair on his head, legs and his beard grow and trained with legwarmers, long sleeves and gloves in sunny California!


The winning Marco Polo Cycling Team in Burkina Faso with Maarten Tjallingii in the yellow jersey. From left to right; Miss Burkina, Rutger Kock, Lionel Syne, Kay Kermer, Maarten Tjallingii, David Washburn en Remko Kramer. (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


Maarten Tjallingii won the first stage and kept the yellow jersey the whole Tour! The team worked well together and Maarten was very very strong. In the 3rd stage Maarten attacked by himself, in the yellow jersey, with 70 KM to go! (I never saw that, the yellow jersey attack in a flat stage.) Only Belgium ex-pro Gunther Cuylits could get to him in the finally and beat him at the finish. But Maarten gained some time again on the rest of the field.


Maarten Tjallingii coming down from the podium in his yellow jersey with the same lion as they give the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera) 


Kay Kermer (probably the first German in the Tour du Faso..?) came into gear with a stage win in the second stage and with several podium placings. He won the green jersey and another stage and became 3rd on GC at the end. Too bad that our sprinter Lionel Syne crashed hard. His shoulder had a strange position and he thought his collarbone was broken. In the hospital his shoulder popped back in, it was dislocated! Lionel wanted to go back to the place where crashed to finish the stage. However his bicycle disappeared! It was taken by the police and came back long after the stage. Also bad luck for Rutger Kock and Dave Washburn (probably the first American in the Tour du Faso..?). They got sick. It is hard to stay healthy. Because of the exercise in the extreme heat the immune system does not work super. And with, for our bodies' unknown bacteria's in the food, you get sick easily.


Kay Kermer in green, Remko Kramer and Maarten Tjallingii in yellow underway to the start on a typical Burkina road. (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


Maarten kept the jersey all tour and won the Tour de Faso 2003! As a special guest ex-toprider Laurent Jalabert came over to visit the last two stages. Also Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc came to watch the race.


Laurent Jalabert at the start in Tenkondogo with Maarten Tjallingii, Remko Kramer and Kay Kermer. (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


Unique was the three female staff of the team. We never saw that anywhere in a race. Francis Cerny, Petra Hofs and Isabelle Piscart did a great job and took care of all logistics, feeding and massage, kept the team updated in the race and changed flat tires. Halfway through the Tour, some of the many journalists that follow the Tour du Faso, noticed the all female Marco Polo staff. They asked the girls what was the secret of the success of the team. Of course they didn't tell them. 


The secret of the success: 


Hard training, strong mentality and teamwork.


The extra bottle in the pocket, another half litre of drink, no luxury with 40 degrees Celsius. Born Sportscare of course. (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera) 


Drink a lot to recover. As you can see Kay needed it... 

(Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


Good massage to relax the muscles for another hard day. This is in the tent camp where we slept several nights. (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


Concentration and a good bicycle (Marco Polo Cycling Club bicycle of course). (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


Good helmets and good glasses. (Limar and Axley) (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


Information about the stage, the KM's of the sprints, and the numbers of the dangerous riders on G.C. And a good cycling computer and heart rate monitor from Sigma. (Photo: Francis Cerny, Nikon camera)


And of course the three Marco Polo girls staff. From left to right: Francis Cerny, Isabelle Piscart and Petra Hofs. (Photo: Remko Kramer, Nikon camera)



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