World Wide Cycling
first big race of the 2003 season for the Marco Polo Cycling Club will be the
Vuelta de Chile. This will also be the first race where the Marco Polo Cycling
Team members from the new Trade Team 3 will meet and race.
The race will start at March 27 with a Prologue in Concepion and finish after about 1500 KM on April 6 in Santiago. The strong and experienced Marco Polo Cycling team travels to Chile this week. We hope to receive info from Chile so we can show updates on our site.
team has the following line-up:
Dahlberg from New Zealand
Carter from the USA
Lange from Canada
Kermer from Germany
Rohrbach from Germany
Ulzii-Orshikh from Mongolia
Program of the
„XXVI Vuelta Ciclista de
(Av. Costanera) 4
(por Florida, Quinchamalí)
(por Quirihue,Cauquenes,Parral) 211
Semi Etapa:LINARES-TALCA (por, Colbún,Villa Alegre, San Javier )
2a Semi Etapa: Contra Reloj individual Talca
Semi Etapa: Talca-Curepto
2a Semi Etapa: Licanten-Curicó(circuito en Curió)
(por Cuesta La Dormida)
riders of the team, Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh, Kay Kermer and Felix Rohrbach left
from Brussels to Santiago. They raced in Germany on Sunday and packed all team
equipment in the evening and left early in the morning.
Michael Carter will fly in from the USA and Cory Lange will come from Canada. Nathan and the staff will travel from New Zealand and meet the rest in Chile.
In the end of March we flew from
Brussels to Atlanta and than over to Santiago de Chile. it was a very long trip.
About 20 hours. In Atlanta we had about 6 hours rest between both flights. so
Kay and Felix made a little sightseeing-tour through down town and Olympic
centre. Ulzii stayed at the airport to sleep.
After arrival in Santiago we were
brought to the hotel through the whole capital by some guys of the organisation
team of the stage race. Santiago didn’t look that poor as many other cities in
middle or south America. you can see the influence of the USA, but just in the
capital, fortunately! I was talking with the bus driver, he asked many things
about life in Europe and Germany. All inhabitants we met are very friendly!
Prolog Conceptión 4km, strong wind.
Very hard to race a prologue well at the start of the season with almost no
racing in the legs. First 20 riders were all South Americans, in the middle of
their racing season.
The Vuelta in the Chilean landscape. (Photographer: Paolo Pellizzari)
stage San Pedro de la Paz – Chillán 125km, windy, warm 25°C, 970
meters altitude difference.
Felix: “We started 500 km in the
south of Santiago with the first stage. I remember the first race hour was over
50 km/h and nobody of our team was able to follow well. in the end I was riding
against the time limit alone!”
2nd stage Chillán – Linares 211km,
windy, 25°C sunny, 1155 meters
“After 10k a 11 men break-away went. They had maximally 15 minutes
advantage. We first had two and after some bad luck only one rider up front.
After the mountain the Chilean
LaPolar team chased and almost caught the group back. I got 2nd in the crazy
field-sprint and became 10th.
3rd stage Linares-Talca 123km, 26°C
Felix: “I got better and better day
by day. In the 3rd stage I tried to breakaway with two other riders. We had a 90
km escape. 2 km before finish we were brought back in the peloton. Kay crashed
in the final sprint and had many injuries.”
Kay: “This stage came down to a
field sprint. I was totally motivated after yesterdays sprint, but at the last
KM I crashed.“
4th stage 1st half Talca-Curepto
72km, 10°C pretty cold and cloudy, 1070 meters
Kay: „I was suffering, the legs
became heavy from all racing and the wounds still hurt. I got dropped from the
peloton and came in 4 minutes after the winner.”
The Vuelta de Chile cruisin' through a town. (Photographer: Paolo Pellizzari)
4th stage 2nd half Licantén-Curicó
116km, 25°C sunny and warm
About one hour and many autographs
after the first half stage, we started for the second half stage. We reached the
Andes and it was a lot of climbing here. At the finish laps we raced the last 26
km with over 48 average. I would not feel comfortable yet in the field sprint so
I attacked with 2 K to go. I got away with a Brasilian but with 800 meter to go
the peloton came over us.
5th stage Curicó-Pichilemu 161km, 22°C
The South American seem to get
stronger and stronger. Again they attack from the gun and the speed is
In the teammeeting we decided to have
a guy in each break. So we did, hard as it was. Finally Cory got away in a 4 men
break. In the finally he got away with Dutch rider Harm Jansen who lives and
races in the USA. Cory got second.
Many kids watched the race with great interest. (Photographer: Paolo Pellizzari)
It is amazing how many kids are
watching the race. They go crazy like we are pop stars. Also car drivers that
have to wait for the race to pass, just take an easy break and smile and wave
their hands. So much more relaxed then in Europe. The country is beautiful with
palms and the Andes-mountains in the backgrounds. “Senors” that ride their
horse and wagon wave their hats. Poor looking farmers in the fields with
“leather skin”, really dark almost black, but always with a smile on their
Chilean men sit in a bus stop and wait for the Vuelta to pass by. (Photographer: Paolo Pellizzari)
6th stage Pichilemu-San Antonio
141km, 15°C cloudy, 1695 meters
The place we stayed was like camping
out. We were a little out of town in a bungalow park at a small lake. Dinner was
in a big cabin, heated with a stove. The tables were decorated with the flags
from the countries the teams came from. With a nice view at the lake, it was
really nice, only the racing…
7th stage Melipilla-Farellones 123km,
21°C sunny, 2285 meters altitude
1 Mountain of category 1+ (special)
The locals told us this stage would
be really hard and they were right. In the last 40 K the race would go up to
2456 meters. First slowly uphill then 10% and 42 S-bends. It reminded me of Alpe
d’Huez, but then a lot harder and the last km was on cobble stones!
Rider after rider got dropped and I
had nothing to do with the front. Only Michael could stay in front and secured a
good 12th place in the GC.
The local teams (Ekono Almo,
Publiguias und Ace Bryc Curicó) dominated.
Canadian Cory Lange in the peloton. (Photographer: Paolo Pellizzari)
Felix: „we saw that it would be
almost impossible to compete with the strong South Americans. And we decided to
relax after the stage and celebrate the birthday of out team director from New
Zealand, mr. Thomson. we drunk some special Chile red wine and had much fun!”
8th stage Santiago-Limache 128km, 28°C
It was warm and humid and after a
sweaty night at the Sports hotel, were we stayed. We had to race most of the
stage on the freeway. This was boring but also good because this surface was
great compared to the usual streets.
The Chilean teams
were competing for the leader jersey and we just waited for the bunch sprint.
But it was a special one. Because at 4 Km from the finish there was a 1,5 K hill
with 10% and the last 2 K were twisting through the little city of Limache.
I found myself in
a top ten position with the cycle computer (from Sigma) fixed at 60 KMpH, the
Ekono Almo team pulling at the front. I went into the wind to sprint but instead
of getting forward I lost positions and only got 20th. But I was happy to be up
there again in the front without thinking of the crash.
We stayed the night in this great
holiday resort with palm trees and a pool and all kinds of fruits hanging at the
trees. A great view at the mountains in the sun, 30 degrees in the shadow, so
beautiful if only I wasn’t so tired...
9th stage Quilpué-Quilicura 174km,
33°C hot!, 1455Höhenmeter
A very hard mountain stage. We saw
the big mountain for a long time already. And on S-bends we went up and the
higher we came the hotter it was. The asphalt started to melt and so were we.
The complete peloton was shattered and one by one we struggled up on the
mountain. After the downhill groups formed and it became a bigger group but 25
men on the road, with of course good-old Michael in it.
Michael Carter showed that he still climbs very strong. (Photographer: Paolo Pellizzari)
10th stage Circuito Vitacura 72km
Criterium, 18 Laps of 4km, 28°C warm
The last stage! Going up and down
with two 180 degreed turns. On your marks, get set, go! 60 KMpH straight out of
the start with headwind! From almost zero in the turns to maximum speed every
single lap. These guys were not tired yet.
Note from Kay: It is so interesting
to go on these international tours all over the world. I have got so many
friends from so many nationalities now. This gives understanding amongst people
and makes it so hard to understand that people have wars at this world.”
Felix: „The two assistants we had
in Chile who gave us massages and prepared our bikes everyday made us little
presents for having so much fun with us. I got an "indio picarro" , a
little wood figure. Really friendly from these guys.”.
After this tough "Vuelta de Chile" we flew back to Atlanta just one day later and than further to San Francisco where the "Sea Otter Classic" starts just two days after Chile!
Read further in California 2003 click here
On this place we want to thank the organisers of the Vuelta de Chile for their great hospitality. And a special thanks to Paolo Pellizzari for sending us these photos.