World Wide Cycling
The Marco Polo Cycling Club will participate in the California Series in the USA. These are some of the best races of the year in the USA. All American professional and top-amateur teams will be present in these races. Marco Polo Cycling Club will do it's best to give them a hard time!
The Marco Polo riders travel from anywhere in the world and meet in the States. For example Dutch rider Bram de Waard, who raced and trained with Nathan Dahlberg and the Hong Kong riders in New Zealand and Australia, comes straight from Down-Under. Even our Mongolian top-rider Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh will make it and join our strong team in California.
It is only possible for us to participate because some of our members in California are so helpful with the logistics of the team. Thank you guys!
The Marco Polo Cycling Club is still being run without sponsorship, so any support is welcome...
We will race the following races in the USA in March
March 9-10 Sequoia Classic (Visalia)
March 12-17 Redlands Bicycle Classic, Redlands (L.A.)
March 21-23 Sea Otter Classic (Monterey)
March 28-31 Solano
The Marco Polo Cycling Club will race with the following riders:
Ulzii-Orshikh, Jamsran (Mongolia), 2nd World Championships countries B 2001, 2nd Asian Championships 2000, National Champion of Mongolia, Winner G.C. Qinghai-Tibet (China) 2001
Cheuk Chun, Cheng (Hong Kong), Hong Kong National Champion MTB, 8th Asian Championships, Canada Cup MTB 1st and 2nd,
Russell, Ryan (New Zealand), 1st Tour of Taiwan 2000, 3rd Tour of Taiwan 1999, Stage win Tour of Southland 1999, 2nd NZ Road Champs 1998
Zarsadias, Tony (Canada), 6th Canadian National Criterium Championships 2001, 3rd Canada Cup Points Race 2001, 1st Provincial Championships 2000, 12th Canadian National Road Race Championships
de Waard, Bram (Netherlands), Winner World Cup Juniors Axel Netherlands, 9th overall World Cup Juniors, 1st Omloop Groene Gemeente 2001, 3rd OZ Wielerweekeind 2001
Kramer, Remko (Netherlands), 1st Santa Cruz (USA) 1998, 3rd stage Islamabad-Lahore (Pakistan) 1999, 9th last stage Tour du Maroc 2002, 7 UCI-points in 2001
Remko Kramer: "After a very stressfull week to make the final arrangements of our California Tour, I drive to Belgium to pick up the new Marco Polo Cycling Club bicycle and clothing for the team. Late at night we have everything and me and my girlfriend have a good sleep in a corner of the airport.
Thursday March 7
There was no room on the plane to Amsterdam for my bicycle, so I needed to take a train at the last moment. I hardly made it on time, but luckily everything came over in the same plane to San Francisco. I was picked up by Jason Salkind the Team Director of our new partnerclub. We had to hurry to get on the bike before dark for a test ride on the new bicycle and to loosen my legs from the flight. Bram de Waard, Ryan Russell and Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh already arrived in L.A. and were welcomed there by other volunteer members of the Marco Polo Cycling Club. Only with this help it is possible for us to organize this tour without a budget!
Friday March 8
We drove down to Visalia and met the others at the circuit of the road race. This is a 9 mile loop with two hard climbs of about 1 mile and 0,5 mile. We were riding through the orange groves and at the horizon we saw the sun glittering on the snow tops of the Sierra Nevada. This time we had a nice sleeping place on the floor in the hotel room of the Three Bear Racing Team.
The Sequioa Classic and Visalia Criterium:
9 Rocky Hill Road Race 85 mile 11:00 start
March 10 Visalia Crit 70 laps 49 mile 14:05 start
Saturday March 9
It's great weather and we make ourselves ready to start in the Sequoia Classic. The first day is a 85 mile (140 KM)(9 laps) Road Race on a very hard circuit. All American Professional and Amateur top teams are here, (only U.S. Postal will first come in Redlands). The field of the Category 1, Pro racers is 180 riders. This is my first race of the season and my third ride on my new bicycle. But climbing feels o.k. I even take the second climb first, only my lungs burn because of all the air that I need. The intensity is so much more then I am used to until now. Jamsran has a flat tire on the first climb and because of the high speed he never manages to catch on again. Bram and Ryan look o.k. riding in front and go along in breaks. My legs get heavier every lap and after 6 laps I got dropped. I keep chasing as training for the next races. Bram and Ryan finished just behind the price money placings.
Sunday March 10
Minus 40 degrees
By Bram de Waard: “California is my fourth stop on my world trip. I started my trip on the 20th of December when I left to Hong Kong to ride the Tour of South China Sea (December 26 till 31). Immediately after the race I flew to Wellington (New Zealand) to ride the Tour of Wellington ( January 1st till 5th) There I finished 5th in the General Classification after an amazing effort at the third day which gave me 25 minutes on the peloton together with four other riders. After that I have been traveling over the South Island of New Zealand, together with Nathan Dahlberg and four talented riders from Hong Kong. We have done there some races and a lot of training during that trip. I stayed in New-Zealand till I went to the Tour of Tasmania ( February 27 till March 3th). That was good organized race on a hard circuit with a lot of Australian riders who are ready for their European season. My best result was a 5th place in the bunch sprint of the second stage. The others stages were a good suffer.
Today we will race the Visalia Criterium. A fast circuit in downtown Visalia with six turns on wide streets, 90 minutes on a 1 KM lap. This is going to be very hard with 180 American top-riders. Other years the first riders saw the tail of the field on the finish-straight...
This year they took it a bit easier and it was possible for us to ride in front. Our Mongolian rider Jamsran attacked a couple of times and it was impossible to stay away for everybody. In the last ten laps there were a couple of crashes and the big teams were putting up the speed. So only 30 riders were left on the last straight line. I was our first rider with place 24.
We are the organizers of the Sequoia Classic very thankful for all their help. The races in Visalia are a good preparation for the Redlands Cycling Classic and the Sea Otter, cause the races were good organized, the hilly circuit gave us a good suffer and the Criterium was a good opportunity to improve our bike skills and our race speed. Especially for Jamsran, who’s only preparation has been two weeks training in China. Cause in Mongolia it is about 40 degrees below zero and the only training possibility is on the rollerbank.”
Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh, from winter in Mongolia with temperatures of minus 40 degrees, to California
riding through orange groves near Visalia. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
Redlands Bicycle Classic:
March 13, 2002
12:45 pm Stage 1 – Saturn of Loma Linda Mt. Rubidoux Time Trial for Men – 5k
Start: Fairmont Park, Riverside, California
March 14, 2002
10:45 am Stage 2 – Arrowhead Medical Highland Circuit Race for Men – 82 km
Start/Finish: Baseline Avenue at Church - Highland, California
March 15, 2002
9:00 am Stage 3 – The Sun Road Race for Men - 172 km - Redlands to Oak Glen
Men’s Start at Brookside Park, Redlands
3:30 pm Stage 4 - Beaver Medical Group Criterium for Men - Timed Event: 90 min.
March 17, 2002
1:30 pm Stage 5 – Spring Pacific Properties Sunset Road Race - Men: Pro, 1 - 11 laps, 142 km
Pro Criterium start line on Citrus Avenue between 5th Street and 6th Street in downtown Redlands.
Monday March 11
In the middle of the desert
Our team manager Jason Salkind took us to stay in his father’s house. His father’s house is located in the desert city Palm Desert. It is a nice luxury house with a swimming pool and couches and a floor to sleep on. Today we did a nice small ride through the desert and upon a canyon. The trip here was not without risks. Jason told us that in case of car problems we should leave the car in the desert cause it is to dangerous with all the snakes a scorpions over there.
Tuesday March 12
We drove to Redlands to register the team for the stage race. The Indonesian riders have not made it to California so we had to look for extra riders on the team. At the registration we met Roberto Gaggioli an Italian cyclist who already lives for a long time in the USA. He won more races then anybody else in the USA. He was keen on racing with the Marco Polo Cycling Club in Redlands. Further we took Greg Bourke from Canada and Chad Hartley from the USA on the team. So we are racing here with 6 nationalities. We went to the guest families where we will stay during this race. We are very lucky with a great family who takes care of us very well.
Wednesday March 13
Between cactuses and rocks
The 5 KM prologue was on a winding course through a park and over residential city streets. The last 3 kilometers are going up to the top of a hill, between cactuses and rocks. The total ascent is almost 400 meters and there was a strong wind especially on top of the hill.Today is the start of the most important stage races for the American professionals, so they are in top shape. And for most of the Marco Polo riders these are the first races of this year. The team had no good results in the prologue; Ryan Russell was the best Marco Polo rider with a 50th place. Chris Horner won with almost 15 seconds ! on the second rider. Francis Cerny joined the team as soigneur and photographer. She is from Germany which brings a 7th nationality to the team.
Thursday March 14
The circuit race had a steep climb which split the peloton into many small groups. (Photographer: Francis Cerny)
Horner, Chris Horner
Again a victory for Chris Horner. In the final lap he closed the gap on the front group by himself and beat everybody in the sprint too. The Marco Polo team was going better too with three riders in the frontgroup of 60 survivors. Almost 20 riders did not make the time cut but Marco Polo is still complete. Ryan Russel is now best on G.C. with place 34th. Bram de Waard made an incredible move upwards of 100 places in the G.C.
Friday March 15
Todays The Sun Road Race took the riders in 172 KM over several small mountains to Oak Glen Road. Here is a 10 KM climb to the mountaintop finish. The tempo was high because the Prime Alliance Team chased an early breakaway group. In the feedzone there was a crash. One rider fell on Bram’s rear-wheel and took him down. Bram crashed hard and broke his elbow. He was taken in the ambulance and brought to the hospital. The rest of the team survived and all finished on time. Bram had surgery late in the evening.
Saturday March 16
Everything seems o.k. with Bram, the doctor thinks he will be able to train again in two weeks. In the afternoon there was a downtown criterium, 90 minutes on a 1,1 Mile (1,8 KM) course with 9 turns. From the start the speed was maximal and within 3 laps the whole field was strung out single-file. Greg, Tony and Remko could not make it to the front and soon they were dropped. Jamsran got into trouble later and with a small group he could prevent being lapped before half of the race and he can continue the race tomorrow. Ryan and Chad stayed in the small field that made it to the finish of this super fast criterium.
The field all strung out in the streets of Downtown Redlands. (Photographer: Francis Cerny)
Sunday March 17
This morning we picked Bram up from the hospital. He is doing fine, considering his situation. Today the riders that are still in the race will start Downtown Redlands, go up to a circuit were they will race 11 laps. This circuit is going up and down and the expectations are that not many riders will make it to the finish.
This last stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic was very hard. The peloton got shattered at the hilly circuit. Only about 30 riders could finish this stage (of the 180 Elite cyclists that started this stage race!). Ryan managed to stay in and got a 26th placing on G.C. The others were taken out of the race but were placed in the final ranking.
Jamsran leading a small chase group. (Photographer: Francis Cerny)
Monday March 18
We hang out and went for a little ride. Further we painted the Chinese Character Hisshou, the logo of the Marco Polo Cycling Club on the Team-Van with. Steve Edwards, one of our members that helps us out here during our Californian Tour borrowed us this Van. Now it is turned into a Marco Polo Team car.
Tuesday March 19
We thanked our host family, the Agre’s for their great hospitality. And Ryan, Jamsran, Remko and Francis went with the team-Van to Santa Cruz. Leaving L.A. the milage of this miraculous Van went over 300.000 miles! We left Tony behind because he got a ride from the Canadian National Team and Bram would come up north later with Steve Edwards.
In Santa Cruz we were welcomed by other members of the Marco Polo Cycling Club and people from Global Cyclists Exchange. We went for a ride along the coast to loosen our legs. The people from Global Cyclists Exchange took care of housing for the team and brought us to our host families.
Sea Otter Bicycle Classic
(by Bram de Waard who became team manager (after his broken elbow) next to Team Director Steve Edwards)
The Marco Polo Cycling Club starts to live.
Although our results are not that good, we have some other things we are very happy about. The people who are running the World Wide Cycling Organization and the Marco Polo Cycling Club are thinking and working very hard to find the way to develop your membership to something very useful. It looks to me there is something very special growing.
One idea is starting to become true:Here in this California trip 2002 we have a team with riders from all over the world, helped around by local members. And we are having not a dull moment. In the Redlands bicycle classic we had riders from 6 nationalities participating in our team. We had the possibility to improve that. Cause there were only four riders left from the Redlands Bicycle classic in our Sea Otter team.
Tony Zsaradias from Canada
Remko Kramer from The Netherlands
Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh from Mongolia
Ryan Russell from New Zealand
The new riders who are joining our team are:
- Sandy Perrins from the United States
8 riders from 8 different countries! Together with our masseuse Francis Cerny from Germany we have this time 9 nationalities in our team. We are starting to be the United Nations in cycling. Join the force !!! Maybe I should better slow down a bit. Cause our results are not good on this trip but we are doing the best we can.
The Marco Polo team Van, borrowed for the California Tour by Marco Polo member Steve Edwards (thank's a lot Steve!). Painted with the Chinese character "Hisshou" a dragon and the name of the club. (Photographer: Remko Kramer)
Sea Otter Classic (Monterey):
Thursday March 21
Stage 1 2002 Laguna Seca Time Trial
(Laguna Seca Raceway)
Elite Men: 10:00h, 17.1 miles (27.5 km)
Thursday March 21, 2002
Stage 2 Cannery Row Circuit Race (Cannery Row, Monterey)
Elite Men: 15:30h (3.30pm) 80 laps / 48.2 miles (77.6 km)
Friday March 22, 2002
Stage 3 Fort Ord Road Race (Laguna Seca Raceway)
Elite Men: 12:00h 5 laps / 106 miles (170km)
Saturday March 23, 2002
Stage 4 Laguna Seca Circuit Race (Laguna Seca Raceway)
Elite Men: 11:45h 20 laps/45.0 miles (72.4 km)
1st stage of the Sea Otter Bicycle Classic
They like to begin here with a hard day. In the morning the riders did a 27 kilometer timetrail and in the afternoon a criterium of 80 kilometres. So the first task was riding a hell of a time trail. The first rider I followed was Sandy. It was a very nice time trail for Sandy. He caught 5 riders who started in front of him. In the last 10 kilometres was a hard 3 kilometre clim. A climb where the best riders make the difference with the good riders. Sandy had a hard time on this climb and at the end he was our best rider with a 43th place. The time trial was won by US Postal rider David Zabriskie.
When I was waiting for the other riders to arrive, an totally exited and confused Ulzii came to me. After four kilometre he had crashed on a television camera car. The car had just passed him when the camara man feld out of the car in steep down-hill. The car made an emergency stop and ran over a leg of the camara man. Ulzii rode straight in the back of the car with a speed between 40 and 50 kilometres. It took Ulzii 5 minutes to repair his bike. After a while top favorite Chris Horner passed him.
Jamsran: "I go riding on other side of road next to Chris Horner. I keep same speed. The team manager of Horner comes looking at me, he thinks what is this. Maybe 7 kilometres I ride next to him. Then on the steep part of the climb he is too fast. Chris Horner is very very strong."
The team manager must have looked more suprised when he saw the result later on the day. Cause Ulzii did not made the time cut.
2nd Stage, Crazy Criterium
Ryan: "This is unbelievable, the criteriums are so fast. If you don't start in the front you never make it because the tempo is so high that the peloton is single file within two laps."
I was more worried about Ulzii. He himself looked pretty all right and his left shifter was totally broken. It was not easy to find a new shifter, so the best thing we could do is arranging a spare bike.
Jamsran and Remko at the start of a stage of the Sea Otter Classic. (Photographer: Francis Cerny)
Friday March 22
2nd day, 3rd stage
I hate spare bikes.
Today the whole team performed
very well. They had to do 5 laps of 35 kilometres in the rain. After
5 kilometres the first riders were dropped. We lost our Hong Kong rider
Chung and a lap later Tony. And after that we (Steve and I in the teamcar)
saw no Marco Polo riders for a long time. During the first three lapes
there were about sixty riders dropped, cause Saturn and U.S. Postal Services
had to do everything to catch back a break with good riders from Mercury
and Prime Allaince. After almost four laps they caught the break and that was the moment the race exploded. The peloton
shattered into pieces and we decided to ride up to our first rider. So we had
to pass a lot of groups, till we finally were with the twenty riders
who were chashing the two leaders Henk Vogels from Australia and Chris
Horner. Our young and talentful rider from New-Zealand Ryan Russel was
siting easy in this group. When this group exploded Steves beautifull
BMW could pass more riders and teamcars from the strong pro teams.
Finally Ryan became
Jamsran had decided before the race to ride his own bike instead of a spare bike. He did not mind to ride his big ring where a lot riders were happy to ride 39/23.
Lionel: "Jamsran did an incredible thing. Finishing this superhard stage on the big ring. He even came in as 35th. Nobody who knows this course will believe it, but we saw it."
Ulzii finished almost in the same group as Remko. Remko finished in a group with U.S. Postal rider Tom Boonen. Before Tom went to do the California series, he did finish 4th in Brussel-Kuurne-Brussel and he was one of the stronger riders in Omloop het Volk (Belgium). He was in great shape and thought he would do really well in Redlands and Sea Otter. The high level totally suprised him, he thought the US riders were going as fast as the European top-professionals. He told us about yesterdays criterium: "In second position just before the last corner in the final lap two riders passed me, they went so fast I thought they would crash. I allready felt my wheel drifting through the corner. But they made it and I lossed 5 metres and became 4th."
Saterday March 23
3th day, 4th stage
Yesterday Chris Horner took over the lead easy and today his Prime Alliance team and Mercury were controlling the race. Todays stage was on the Laguna Sega race circuit. Just a race of 75 kilometres. It was very windy and only thirty riders were together at the final end. Our australian rider Cameron Hughes did a very good job by hanging on till the last lap so did Ray. He showed how strong he became, he attacked after 5 lapes and he stayed away for 15 kilometres together with a rider of Great-Brittain.
The peloton on the famous Laguna Seca raceway for the last stage of the Sea Otter Classic. The Marco Polo Cycling Club still with 6 riders in the race. (Photographer: Francis Cerny)
And that was the last stage of the Sea Otter Classic. And now everybody goes his own way. Remko goes back to Holland, ready to suprise himself in the comming months. Jamsran will head back to Mongolia to stay there for a couple of weeks and then he will go to Japan to join his Gaint Asian team. Tony, Chung and Ryan are going to race in Solano in a combination team of The Marco Polo Cycling Club and the Three Bears Racing Team. The level will be a little bit lower there, so good luck guys. Sandy, Cameron and Lionel will stay in the USA to race and survive there.
We would like to thank all members of the Marco Polo Cycling club that helped us, the guest families and the race organisers. Without their support this California Tour would have never been possible.