World Wide Cycling
Marco Polo Cycling Team will have the following riders in the Tour of South
China Sea 2004:
Mifune, experienced rider from Japan, last year's winner of the Hong Kong Cycle
Yin Leung, or Kenji, young rider from Hong Kong won a stage in Tour de Lanka,
just a few days ago.
Ulzii-Orshikh, strong experienced top-rider from Mongolia, got second on GC in
Tour de Lanka, just a few days ago.
Rhys, new rider on the team, ex-mountainbiker from Australia.
Kramer, also active in the Marco Polo Cycling management.
John Tonks, 2004 Hong Kong Champion, British background with very good results
in the past.
Wolhuter from South Africa
Cerny from Germany
Lui, Manager of the Hong Kong department of Marco Polo Cycling Club
support from friends from Louis.
peloton passing a huge billboard promoting cycling as a sport. (Photographer:
TOUR OF SOUTH CHINA SEA race program:
December 26, 2004 1st Stage - Hong
105.4km Individual Road Race
to Tsing Yi, Hong Kong
transfer to Shenzhen, P.R. of China
December 27, 2004 2nd Stage -
Shenzhen, P.R. of China
December 28, 2004 3rd Stage -
110km Individual Road Race
Chime Long Zoo, Guangzhou, P.R. of China
December 29, 2004 4th Stage -
88KM Individual Road Race
Road, City District, Zhongshan, P.R. of China
December 30, 2004 5th Stage -
Sports Stadium, Zhuhai, P.R. of China
December 31, 2004 6th Stage - Macau
90KM Individual Road Race
January 1, 2005 7th Stage - Macau
Tour of South China Sea 2004 (by Remko Kramer)
Marco Polo Cycling Team had their last "hometown-race" in Hong Kong,
because the team changes the registration license to mainland China. And of
course we wanted to say goodbye to our friends here with a great performance.
some of our team we met again after the Tour de China. I, Remko Kramer was there
myself and Chi Yin Leung (Kenji) from Hong Kong and Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh (Oggi)
from Mongolia participated in the meantime in the Tour de Lanka. They finished
just two weeks before the Tsunami disaster...
Mifune was welcomed again, he won last years Hong Kong Cycle Classic against a
world class pro-field. And new riders on the team were Hong Kong national
champion John Tonks and Australian Rhys Pollock who will also be on the 2005
German soigneuse Francis Cerny joins again and of course our Hong Kong manager
Louis Lui with a mechanic. Team director Allan Wolhuter from South-Africa starts
his two months tour with us here (following are the training camp, the Tour of
Siam (Thailand) and the Tour of Qatar).
years peloton for the Tour of South China Sea is even stronger then last years,
with of course the favourite team from Moscow and the favourite rider from Hong
Kong Kam Po Wong, other strong teams are Ked-Bianchi Berlin from Geramy, two
teams from Czech and this year new; Wismilak Indonesia, the Swiss national track
team and Glud and Marstrand from Denmark!
is Christmas day, but not the same experience like in cold and snowy Europe.
Also for Rhys it is different experience because it is even cold for Hong Kong
and much colder then Australian summer. But the nice thing is that we are here
together with all these different nationalities and cultures and have a good
time together, which is also a Christmas experience.
26 - Stage 1 Wanchai to Tsing Yi, Hong Kong
start was at the Golden Bauhinia Square in the financial district. It was so
early that we could still see the flag raising ceremony.
the neutralisation we already reached speeds over 60kmph. But then it got quiet
until we arrived at the 7 K circuit that we raced 12 laps. On this course are
two mean climbs. With good legs still you take them fast on the big ring, but
they wear the field out. And after a few laps, two groups got away. Rhys Pollock
who looked impressively strong was in almost every break so also in this one.
But it regrouped again. This happened a second time and we completely missed
this break. Also because Rhys had a flat tire, the caravan with cars was about
one minute behind the peloton so he had no chance to get back.
was another regrouping and then a small group with Kam Po Wong got away. Then
Kenji (Chi Yin Leung) made a very strong move, he showed how much stronger he
became from racing in Europe. By himself he attacked at the bottom of the
finish-hill and made a chase of half a lap, to catch the strong front group.
Masa went as hard as anybody up one of the climbs to catch some chase group and
he got also up front. When Oggi heard Kam Po already left the peloton (without
telling him ;-) he went out of the group and just rode off, like nobody tried to
follow him. That made 3 riders in the break of 21 riders, which got together.
the final lap, young supertalent Alexander Khatuntsev from Moscow attacked and
was never caught back. Also the chase of Kam Po Wong with Vladislav Borisov
failed and they sprinted for 2nd which was for Kam Po.
came in 6th, Kenji 12th and Oggi 15th.
are now 3rd on team GC behind Moscow City Sports and Hong Kong National Team.
a shower in the hotel, the whole tour packed and left Hong Kong for the next
stages in China. We had a transfer by bus to the city of Shenzhen, just across
the border. This city has grown from a small town into a multi-million huge city
in just a few years. The big buildings and modern architecture are impressive
and the infrastructure and roads are all new, clean and developed for so many in
such a small area. This is modern China, in full economical development.
27 - Stage 2 Shenzhen Circuit race
the Marco Polo Cycling Team took over the lead in the Tour of South China Sea!
On the fast circuit in Shenzheng it seemed impossible to get away. On the smooth
concrete roads the fast peloton caught back the many break attempts. With 9 laps
to go on the 4,4 km circuit, a group of 6 riders got away with Hong Kong rider
Ngai Ching Wong, Russian Alexey Schmidt and Marco Polo's Masahiko Mifune. Then 4
Kazakh riders made a great move. One of them had a flat tire and they brought
him back to the field. However when they got back, they didn't stop, they just
pulled through and flew passed the surprised peloton, straight to the front
group, where they gave it all they had.
Masa in the break we tried to keep the peloton together and slow down the tempo.
group took a 1:30 minute lead and the chase of several teams in the last 4 laps
was too late. Even the leading Moscow team and the Hong Kong team from the
second placed rider Kam Po Wong couldn't close the gap.
Mifune of the Marco Polo Cycling Team wins stage 2 with more then a bike length.
(Photographer: Francis Cerny)
the final sprint Masahiko Mifune from the Marco Polo Cycling Team won the sprint
with more then a bike length from Alexey Schmidt and Ngai Ching Wong.
strong move of the Kazakhstan National Team gave them the lead in the team
classification with Marco Polo Cycling Team in second and the Moskou City Sports
Masahiko Mifune from the Marco Polo Cycling Team takes over the points
classification as well as the individual GC, he will wear the yellow jersey in
the next stage.
Mifune of the Marco Polo Cycling Team celebrates his victory with champagne. (Photographer:
28 - Stage 3 Guangzhou Lime Chong Night Zoo stage
cold day for us. Luckily it stopped raining just before the race. The race
course of 2,3 km is at the entrance
road of a Zoo and goes up and down a hill with a roundabout at 500 metres before
doesn't take long to warm up because the first break goes from the start. All
peloton still so excited, so one break catches the other and we don't need to do
too much. Especially Kam Po Wong tries many times and is very strong. But he
never gets far because everybody else is anxious to make another move for their
last laps the peloton gets ready for a mass sprint and the riders squeeze in on
the corners. Then going down the hill entering the roundabout, the breaks
scream, but nothing happens. This warning is not enough and 100 metres further
bicycles and wheels crack and the riders fly all over the left half of the
street. I see it happen and move to the right, get around and seem to be
alright. Then the rider in front of me is so scared he pulls his front brake and
tips over, taking me also down. At least 15 other riders also go down, among
them number two in the general classification, Russian Alexey Shmidt. His
bicycles frame broke in two pieces. Rhys also crashed. I hurt my knee bad and
fell a crack in the helmet... But I am still o.k. I hope.
is still on the street when the rest of the peloton flies by into the last few
hundred metres where the Danes pull the sprint, but German Marcel Sieberg takes
the victory before Sergey Kudentsov from Moscow City Sports and Marco van Kamel
of the Swiss National Track Team.
leader Masahiko Mifune sprints to a seventh place. But he does this on the 13.
He had a wheel change and couldn't shift the 11 he usually uses...
the finish we were sent into to Zoo for a cooling-down lap and we could enjoy
the view of bears, panthers and other exotic animals.
hotel was brandnew with the most luxurious bathroom I ever saw. The two person
jetstream-bubble-bath had all kinds of electronic features like pulsating side
showers and steam. Radio and television were installed, so I had some
distraction while cleaning out my wounds...
29 - Stage 4 Zhongshan circuit race
The Marco Polo Cycling Team with the yellow jersey in the Tour of South China Sea 2004. From left to right; Teammanager Allan Wolhuter (South-Africa), Chi Yin Leung (Hong Kong), ), Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh (Mongolia), Masahiko Mifune (Japan), Remko Kramer (Netherlands), Rhys Pollock (Australia), and John Tonks (the Hong Kong national Champion).
stage was in an Californian looking boulevard, with palm trees and brand new
wide roads. The streets of the course were surrounded by nice looking apartment
buildings and some guarded private properties with large villas. And nearby was
an 18 hole golf course. This shows how fast things are changing in China,
especially in this southern part, near Hong Kong.
seems that most of the riders are still pretty fresh, because the tempo is high
again and there are non-stop attacks and counter attacks. But most groups were
caught back within a lap. The laps are 4 km each and go up a little rise with a
headwind and the finish is downhill with a nice s-bend at 200 metres before the
about 7 laps to go, a bigger group formed with threats for the yellow jersey of
Masahiko Mifune. Ngai Ching (Dereck) Wong the number second and again (stage 2)
4 Kazakhs drove the break. But with strong efforts of Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh,
Rhys Pollock and John Tonk from the Marco Polo Cycling Team and a little help
from the Russians who also missed the break, the group was caught with 4 laps to
then the peloton got hectic again for the coming mass sprint. With about 2 km to
go, on the uphill section riders go down again and at least 10 riders crash and
some more are blocked. Luckily I am with the last and don't go down again, but a
Russians with Kudentsov, the Germans with yesterday's winner Sieberg and the
Danes pull the sprint and behind them the battle is on. Then Max Nielsen from
the Danish Glud and Marstrand team takes over and nobody can beat him the last
200 metres. Second Marcel Sieberg of Ked-Bianchi Berlin and third is Sergey
Kudentsov from Moscow City Sports.
Mifune from the Marco Polo Cycling Team still holds yellow, but Kazach Alexey
Lyako is getting close in the points classification. He was top three in each of
the four points sprint today!
30 - Stage 5 Zhuhai stage at car racing circuit
windy day at the Zhuhai car racing track. Wide open roads with fast asphalt. The
race is hard because it was riding in the gutter all the time.
a while three riders make a gap and must be riding very hard. They take a 1
minute lead on the chasing peloton. They are Adi Wibowo from Wismilak, Lam Kai
Tsun from Hong Kong and Taiji Nishitani from Japan. But entering the last laps
the speed of the field becomes so high that they are caught back. In the last
lap, there is again a crash. At the last kilometre the Danish Glud and Marstrand
team takes the lead and pulls the sprint for Max Nielsen who wins. Second
becomes Sergey Kudentsov and third Kam Po Wong. Masa was up in the front of the
sprint but didn't have the legs today.
the showdown in Coloane on the steep hill-top finish at the A-Ma statue.
Masahiko Mifune of the Marco Polo Cycling Team still in the yellow jersey.
have another transfer, this time to Macau, a former Portuguese colony. It has
some nice old buildings and is becoming the Las Vegas of this region with
casino's all over town.
31 - Stage 6 Coloane stage circuit race with hill-top finish
Ulzii-Orshikh and Rhys Pollock from the Marco Polo Cycling Team before the start
of stage 6 at the gate towards the A-Ma hill. (Photographer:
is 31st of December and the Marco Polo Cycling Team still holds the yellow
jersey. It would be nice to bring it into the new year 2005. Also keeping it
today would almost mean winning the Tour, because tomorrow is only a fast flat
this is going to be the decisive stage for the Tour of South China Sea. There is
a circuit with some mean hills. And the finish is at the top of a 2 kilometre
super steep hill. The climb goes up towards the statue of the Goddess A-Ma. A-Ma
lived in the region thousands of years ago and Macao was named after her. Her
statue is standing at 199,9 meters above the sea level where the climb started.
Note that there is a 300 meters long downhill at 500 meters to go, making the
rest of the climb around 12-15% average!
is an early break of 3 riders. They gain a 1:30 minute lead maximum. But the
active peloton comes close a few times. In the last lap, some teams keep their
top-riders in the front and the peloton almost caught the break at the bottom of
Russians Hatuntsev took off! He flew up the hill and won with 20 seconds ahead
of Kam Po Wong and taking over Masahiko Mifune's yellow jersey. Derek (Ngai
Ching) Wong finished top ten and remained the number two in GC. Kam Po Wong
leader Masahiko Mifune from the Marco Polo Cycling Team had very bad legs today.
He started the climb with the first, but suffered and struggled to finish as
special note for Chinese rider Chen Jun, who was in the three men break for
about 50 kilometres. He got caught at the start of the climb but stayed in the
front and became 5th!
is new years eve but no time to celebrate, there is another stage tomorrow
1 - Stage 7 Criterium Macao Jockey Club
2005 with a race, a good start of a new year!
general classification is set and the Russian team leaves no room for any
surprises. Only the sprint jersey is still open. But Danish big guy Max Nielsen
makes clear that he is the one that is going to take this one home. He wins the
first intermediate points sprint and when later in the race some riders are in
breaks, he also takes the left over points at those intermediate sprints.
race ends in a bunch sprint where the Russians lead out with the whole team. The
Danes come next to them. We try with Oggi and Masa and me to get passed them,
but we don't make it before the 180 degree turn at 200 metres before the finish!
And we only sprint for top ten spots. Sergey Kudentsov wins the stage clear, Max
Nielsen second and Marcel Sieberg third.
final general classification of the Tour of South China Sea 2004 is: first
Alexander Hatuntsev, second Derek
(Ngai Ching) Wong and third Kam Po Wong.
Polo's Masahiko Mifune becomes 7th , Kenji (Chi Yin Leung) 9th and Oggi 13th.
This makes a 4th place in the team GC behind Moscow, Hong Kong and Kazachstan.
celebrate the new year at a nice closing ceremony with great Chinese food. And
the next day we will move to Zhuhai in the south of China for the official press
conference of the 2005 Marco Polo Cycling Team, a Continental Team registered in
China. And then a two week training camp to prepare for the first races in the
new UCI Asian Continental Tour.
would like to thank everybody for their help and support, especially our Hong
Kong friend Louis Lui. Also we would like to thank the Hong Kong Cycling
Association for their well organised Tour of South China Sea and pleasant
cooperation over the past years!
Marco Polo Cycling Team with staff and supporters wish everybody a hapy new