World Wide Cycling

                 Tour de Hokkaido 2001



Marco Polo Cycling Club

The Marco Polo Cycling Club participated in this years Tour de Hokkaido in Japan. This UCI 2.5 race took place from September 12 to 19. 

World Wide Cycling also organized the participation and travel of the German RC Diana team from Leipzig.

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The mainly Dutch selection of the Marco Polo Cycling Club for this race consists of the following cyclists:


Dennis Hammink, the sprinter of the team. Last year 2nd in a stage, wants to win a stage this year.


Jurgen van Pelt, the strongest amateur in the Netherlands, won 32 races this year!


Dennis van Dijken, in great shape won 2 criteriums past weeks.


Remko Kramer, all-rounder, works for the team and hopes for a stage win.


Robin Reid (New Zealand), small guy but superstrong, attacks from start till finish. Had 8 2nd places in Europe, we hope he wins in Asia.


Team Manager Frans van Slagmaat, soigneur Francis Cerny and Mechanic Wilco Geerts will have a hard job since they also have to take care of the cyclists from Diana.


A map of the southwestern part of Hokkaido with the stages of the Tour de Hokkaido 2001. (from the technical guide)


Here follows a report by Remko Kramer:


September 8


We arrived in Chitose the airport from Saporro and went to the center of Saporro. We stayed in a kind of youth hostel with many other sportsmen, apparently a judo club had their trainingcamp nearby. After a short walk into town to stay awake we went for a short and easy training ride. We had Japanese style family rooms; with 4 people in a room we slept on futon mats on the floor.


September 9


On our training we went to Mount Moiwa to ride the mountain finish of the 5th stage. The tourist sight-seeing road goes up to a radiostation with a great view on Saporro. But to reach this you have to climb 6 KM and gain over 400 meters altitude. After we have ridden up the climb we think we should get in a break before we reach this climb in the race, because specialist can win a lot of time here.


September 10


The wheather is not so good, raining but still a good temperature. It doesen't mather because we go by bus to Hakodate, in the south of Hokkaido, where the Tour de Hokkaido 2001 will start. On the way there we see (too) many mountains, some of them vulcanic.

After arrival in Hakodate we go for a short ride to get the bus ride out of the legs. After a real Japanese dinner, on our knees at the table and of course eating with chop-sticks we hear many people on the street. Spectacular dressed men carry a religious thing and many people follow it with music and songs. Later we visit this festival at the temple a few hundred metres from the hotel.


September 11


Raining all day. Some go for a short training ride. Others just relax and go for some touristing into town. Robin, who comes straight from New Zealand, has a delay due to a hurricane but arrives just before dinner in the hotel. After dinner we have the team meeting to talk about the race. The whole team seems very motivated and I think we can get some good results.


September 12


The prologue is being held at a circuit around a stadium. The 1,5 KM course is very technical because there are two 180 degrees turns. Before the start the atmosphere is nervous. You have to go maximal all the way, concentration is very important and some risk is nescecary in the turns. After my warm-up I hear that Jurgen has a good time. After the start I don't reach my usual top-speed but I can keep my focus and take the turns very well, towards the finish I have enough power to sprint untill the finish line. Not fast enough to get a good placing. Later I see Dennis Hammink passing by halfway, he really goes for it but after the turns he can't speed up enough for a top time. The Germans are doing well Kay Kermer has the second best time but some more riders beat his time. Then Marco Brenner finishes in the fastest time. Interested people come to our team car. We show some spectators the maximum speed on Marco's cycle computer: 86 KM per hour. Now they really get excited and take photos from the computer. They don't know this speed was from the warming-up on the rollers.

The last riders finish and Marco still has the best time. He is the first leader in the Tour de Hokkaido 2001. In the spectacular ceremonie with a Japanese drum band Marco scares a girl that brings the flowers by kissing her. This is no Japanese habbit, but everybody laughs because they understand he means nothing bad with it.

In the evening Frans finds out about the terrorist attacks in the USA. Shocked we watch the television but understand nothing they say in Japanese. Frans notifies the Dutch embassy about our stay in Japan, you never know what happens next.


Dennis Hammink concentrating for the start of the prologue. (Photo: Francis Cerny)


Prologue - September 12: Hakodate City ITT, 1.5 km


1 Marco Bermme (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig                2.00

2 Min Van Velezen (Can) Canada

3 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) Kinan Maruishi

4 Mark Scanlon (Irl) Ireland

5 Satoshi Hirose (Jpn) Nippon Hodo

6 Kay Kermer (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig

7 Bradory Von Raino (USA) Cheblo                     0.01

8 Tomokazu Fujino (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor

9 Hiroshi Sakaguchi (Jpn) Aisan Kogyo

10 Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Nihon Unv.


12 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo                  0.02

26 Dennis Hammink (Ned) Marco Polo                0.05

28 Stefan Grabs (Ger) Rc Diana

31 Dirk Siebert (Ger) Rc Diana                             0.06

32 Robin Reid (NZl) Marco Polo

38 Remko Kramer (Ned) Marco Polo

55 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo


In the evening is the official opening ceremonie, with many important guests. 

September 13 


We get up early for a good breakfast. We will need some energy for 186 KM with two mountains of the minor category. We start in the centre of Hakodate and after a few KM neutralisation the race is open. As expected Robin is the first who attacks. The tempo is very fast but he makes a serious gap. Apparently we go faster then expected because we get in some traffic. The race gets neutralised again and Robin is directed into the peloton again.

In the first hills 4 Japanese riders get 1 minute and Robin makes it by himself to this serious break-away. We control the peloton and the time difference goes over 6 minutes. Then the Canadian national team starts riding, soon some Irish and Japanese riders help and slowly they close the gap. The feeding-zone is on a steep hill, I hesitate but take my bag. Climbing and changing the botles I reach a turn, this is a real climb! I throw away the bag and start going harder. The whole peloton is scatered and the wind is strong. After 10 KM chasing my group catches on the peloton. The group of Robin is caught and the race is open again. 

On the top of the last long climb one of the Irish national team goes solo, David McCan has 2 minutes and in the fast finaly he manages to hold 1 minute. This professional of the CCCMat pro-team from Poland must be superstrong. In the last KM I find a good position behind the Nipponhodo team. In the last turn at 300 meters one rider slips in the inner turn and goes straight, causing a crash. My way is blocked and I have to speed up again and can finish top 10 just behind Jurgen.

In the friendly little pension we stay in, we recover in the hot bath and after dinner we watch the dialy report of the race on television and some sumo-wrestling. 


Stage 1 - September 13: Hakodate City - Kitahiyama, 186 km


1 David McCan (Irl) Ireland                     4.40.30

2 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing               1.07

3 Thomas Evans (Irl) Ireland                     

4 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland                       1.08

5 Satoshi Hirose (Jpn) Nippon Hodo                 1.11

6 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo                 1.13

7 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor    

8 Remko Kramer (Ned) Marco Polo                  

9 Jin-Chul Son (Kor) Korea                        

10 Chul-Min Kim (Kor) Korea                      


14 Robin Reid (NZl) Marco Polo                   

24 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo                   

54 Kay Kermer (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig             

55 Dennis Hammink (Ned) Marco Polo                 2.15

77 Stefan Grabs (Ger) Rc Diana                    13.12

78 Dirk Siebert (Ger) Rc Diana                   

82 Marco Bermme (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig            13.33


September 14


We start today in Imakane, here they have built a Dutch windmill. It is called "de molen" in real Dutch language!


A team photo at the start in Imakane, with "de Molen" as background, from left to right Frans van 

Slagmaat, Remko Kramer, Jurgen van Pelt, Dennis van Dijken, Dennis Hammink, Robin Reid and 

translator Paul de Coninck. (Photo: Tour Photographer)


After 30 KM we reach the coast and a good wind makes us decide to make an echelon. We pull as hard as we can and many groups got dropped but no team wants to join us. The stronger riders are sitting behind us, not enough sidewind so we stop. At the points sprint we bring Jurgen who wins it. On a big climb many riders got dropped. Together with Dennis Hammink we can catch on easily in the down-hill. On the flat part I go with a break-away and with 10 riders we get 4 minutes. Then the peloton starts chasing and get back to 1 minute. Still a huge climb to go before we go down to the finish in Iwanai-town. The group gets smaller and after 4 of the 15 Km climbing the cars pass us; the peloton is comming. Paul Griffin attacks and makes it to the finish! I can't keep up with the peloton, Dennis van Dijken is the only one left. Kay from Team Diana seems to be a good climber and he wins the sprint of the first group and gets 3rd. 


Stage 2 - September 14: Imakane - Iwanai, 184 km


1 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland                              4.50.49

2 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor

3 Kay Kermer (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig                          0.11

4 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing

5 Min  Van Velezen (Can) Canada

6 Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Nihon Unv.

7 Shinji Suzuki (Jpn) Aisan Kogyo

8 Mikahail Teteryuk (Kaz) Nippon Hodo

9 Ryutaro Iwamoto (Jpn) Kyoto Uni

10 Yasutaka Tashiro (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor


33 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo                               4.35

39 Robin Reid (NZl) Marco Polo                               5.27

40 Stefan Grabs (Ger) Rc Diana                               6.03

41 Remko Kramer (Ned) Marco Polo                             6.48

58 Marco Bermme (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig                      12.00

62 Dennis Hammink (Ned) Marco Polo                          15.27

65 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo                         15.39

75 Dirk Siebert (Ger) Rc Diana


September 15


Today only a 60 KM criterium........ The course however is a nightmare. Total 1 KM going up, the first 300 meters of the climb so steep that the 39 x 21 is needed. 


Jurgen attacks from the start, he keeps going all race but without the result he deserved. (Photo: Francis Cerny)


I got dropped very soon and get the 20 minutes time penalty of being lapped before half of the race. Dennis van Dijken and Jurgen go super. Jurgen keeps attacking, he rides half of the criterium solo on the front. He has bad luck with the point sprints, because the sprint of the group for the points catches him back every time. Robin and Kay also have bad luck, still riding for a placing the commisaires take them out of the race with one lap to go.    

The Irish national team show how strong they are by getting first and second in the stage.


Stage 3 - September 15: Criterium Iwanai, 60 km

1 David McCann (Irl) Ireland                              1.45.56

2 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland                                 0.02

3 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor

4 Yasuhiro Yamamoto (Jpn) Shimano Racing

5 Patrick Moriarty (Irl) Ireland

6 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing                         0.04

7 Mituteru Tanaka (Jpn) Aisan Kogyo

8 Tomoya kanou (Jpn) Shimano Racing

9 Mikahail Teteryuk (Kaz) Nippon Hodo

10 Yasutaka Tashiro (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor


12 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo                               0.18

15 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo                          1.12


September 16


From the start we go up for 16 KM. Luckily the Irish national team controls the peloton. After 100 KM we reach the hardest climb of the tour. After 5 Km on this mountain we reach a supersteep part of 3KM. Struggeling on the 39x21 I reach the top in a small group. Dennis van Dijken and Jurgen are still in the first group, but Jurgen has a flat tire in the down-hill. It takes some time before he gets a spare wheel from the neutral car. In the following chase he has another flat tire. When the team car arrives this wheel flies far away in the bushes. Jurgen manages to catch on again and with three riders we are in the finally. With 2 KM to go Dennis van Dijken makes tempo and nobody can attack. With 1 KM to go a Japanese rider attacks and I chase him down. With my last power I pull through to the last turn. Jurgen takes the left side of the road and sprints through the wind to the stage win!!


victory1-2-3.jpg (86088 bytes)Click on these small pictures to see Jurgen win the stage.


Stage 4 - September 16:Kutchan  - Muroran, 162 KM


1 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo                       4.20.27

2 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland

3 Chul-Min Kim (Kor) Korea

4 Takehiro Mizutani (Jpn) Nippon Hodo

5 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing

6 Kyoshi Miura (Jpn) Kinan Maruishi

7 David McCann (Irl) Ireland

8 Shinobu Noguchi (Jpn) Kinan Maruishi

9 Min  Van Velezen (Can) Canada

10 Bradory Von Raino (USA) Cheblo


15 Remko Kramer (Ned) Marco Polo

35 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo

37 Kay Kermer (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig

57 Dennis Hammink (Ned) Marco Polo                           9.00

60 Robin Reid (NZl) Marco Polo                               9.48

73 Stefan Grabs (Ger) Rc Diana                              13.21

74 Dirk Siebert (Ger) Rc Diana

77 Marco Bermme (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig


September 17


The first part of the stage is hard again with a long climb. Japanese riders try to attack the Irish leaders but they have no chance against this strong team. On the climb towards Saporro the Bridgestone-Anchor team makes tempo and only Dennis van Dijken survives. On the last climb on the sight-seeing road David McCann shows his power and wins the stage. Kay Kermer of team Diana finishes 3rd again and Dennis gets 10th.



Soigneur Francis Cerny fills the bottles "Marco Polo style". (Photo: Remko Kramer)


Stage 5 - September 17: Noboribetsu City - Sapporo City 164 km


1 David McCann (Irl) Ireland                              4.21.38

2 Tomoya kanou (Jpn) Shimano Racing                          0.03

3 Kay Kermer (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig                          0.30

4 Mikahail Teteryuk (Kaz) Nippon Hodo                        0.35

5 Patrick Moriarty (Irl) Ireland                             0.40

6 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor                0.43

7 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland                                 0.52

8 Yasuhiro Yamamoto (Jpn) Shimano Racing                     0.57

9 Min  Van Velezen (Can) Canada                              1.01

10 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo                               1.24


36 Remko Kramer (Ned) Marco Polo                             9.14

40 Robin Reid (NZl) Marco Polo                              10.45

43 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo                         11.30

44 Dennis Hammink (Ned) Marco Polo


September 18


The last stage of the Tour de Hokkaido is a criterium in Saporro. Dennis Hammink was 5th last year and thinks he can win it this year. He rides strong on the front, but first this is to defend the attack from Jurgen. Jurgen is going from the start and Marco Brenner from team Diana joins him. They get about 40 seconds and we control the peloton and sit on every attack. Jurgen is superstrong again and keeps going. With three laps to go the Bridgestone-Anchor team starts chasing and they almost catch up. One of their riders attacks and joins Jurgen. Then the Shimano team takes over and chase them down. Another attack from Marco Polo surprises them; Robin seems to go for the stage win. In the down-hill however he is caught again. With his last energy Jurgen leads out Dennis Hammink, however he has to start the sprint at 300 meters to go. Only one rider manages to beat him, second place for Dennis.



Stage 6 60 km criterium Saporro


1 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing                      1.18.35

2 Dennis Hammink (Ned) Marco Polo

3 Satoshi Hirose (Jpn) Nippon Hodo

4 Takehiro Mizutani (Jpn) Nippon Hodo

5 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor

6 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland

7 David McCann (Irl) Ireland

8 Min  Van Velezen (Can) Canada

9 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) Kinan Maruishi

10 Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Nihon Unv.


11 Dirk Siebert (Ger) Rc Diana

30 Kay Kermer (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig

34 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo

35 Robin Reid (NZl) Marco Polo

36 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo

43 Remko Kramer (Ned) Marco Polo

60 Marco Bermme (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig

DNF Stefan Grabs (Ger) Rc Diana


We could not play a serious role for the general classification but with a stage win of Jurgen and a second place of Dennis we showed ourselves well. 


After the closing ceremonie everybody celebrated at the buffet and with many teams we went into Saporro for some drinks.


I would like to thank translator Paul, the staff; Frans, Wilco, Ilya and Francis, for their great work and the organization of the Tour de Hokkaido for the good organisation of this great event.


Final general classification


1 David McCann (Irl) Ireland                             21.19.38

2 Tomoya kanou (Jpn) Shimano Racing                          1.43

3 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland                                 2.06

4 Patrick Moriarty (Irl) Ireland                             2.31

5 Min  Van Velezen (Can) Canada                              2.48

6 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing                         2.55

7 Mituteru Tanaka (Jpn) Aisan Kogyo                          3.21

8 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor                3.21

9 Mikahail Teteryuk (Kaz) Nippon Hodo                        4.27

10 Yasutaka Tashiro (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor                 4.40


14 Dennis van Dijken (Ned) Marco Polo                               8.20

18 Kay Kermer (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig                        16.14

29 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo                         29.53

36 Robin Reid (NZl) Marco Polo                              42.04

37 Remko Kramer (Ned) Marco Polo                            42.29

45 Dennis Hammink (Ned) Marco Polo                          52.30

56 Stefan Grabs (Ger) Rc Diana                            1.09.08

59 Marco Bermme (Ger) Rc Diana Leipzig                    1.18.22

61 Dirk Siebert (Ger) Rc Diana                            1.25.00


Points classification


1 David McCann (Irl) Ireland                                  101 pts

2 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland                                   99

3 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Shimano Racing                           86

4 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor                  76

5 Jurgen Van Pelt (Ned) Marco Polo61


Climber's classification


1 Paul Griffin (Irl) Ireland                                   28 pts

2 David McCann (Irl) Ireland                                   25

3 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor                  22

4 Tomoya kanou (Jpn) Shimano Racing                            13

4 Hisafumi Imanishi (Jpn) Shimano Racing                       13

6 Satoshi Hirose (Jpn) Nippon Hodo                             10

7 Osamu Kurimura (Jpn) Miyata Subaru                            9

8 Mikahail Teteryuk (Kaz) Nippon Hodo                           8

8 Kentaro Eshita (Jpn) Aisan Kogyo                              8

10 Yoshimasa Hirose (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor                    7


Jurgen van Pelt with some girls from a traditional Japanese dance group. (Photo: Francis Cerny) 



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