First-ever Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium kicks off at The Float @ Marina Bay
The first-ever Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium kicked off on Saturday (29 October), with the 29 professional cyclists officially introduced during the teams presentation at The Float @ Marina Bay.
The professional teams were joined by Team Singapore Cycling Federation and the three UCI continental teams, who will also be racing in the professional criterium on Sunday (30 October).
Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who is racing for Israel Premier-Tech, said at the teams presentation: “I’m really happy to be here, it’s my first time and I’m grateful to the event for bringing me here and getting to experience Singapore. I had a bad accident in 2019 and this is the first season since then that I’ve started to feel more ‘normal’ again, so it gives me a lot of encouragement and motivation going forward.”
The 37-year-old was one of the five cyclists who earlier got a taste of Singapore, sampling some fried dough fritters (you tiao) and local iced coffee served in a plastic bag. The other riders were reigning Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard, cycling star Mark Cavendish, and Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde, who have won multiple Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro D’Italia, Vuelta a España).
Fuelled by local fare, the five then took to the roads, each riding a different sort of vehicle – a trishaw. The cyclists rode around the vicinity of Albert Centre as they were guided by their passengers, who were riders from local trishaw tour operator Trishaw Uncles.
Froome said of his afternoon snack: “Those actually take me back to my childhood. I grew up in East Africa and we had these things called Mandazi. It’s basically the same, very similar tastes, the same kind of deep fried dough.”
The professional riders will compete on a specially designed street circuit in the heart of the city on Sunday. The race flags off and ends at The Float @ Marina Bay, and will take riders past iconic Singapore landmarks including the Merlion and the Esplanade.
Team Singapore Cycling Federation cyclist Yeo Boon Kiak said: “The circuit is a beautiful circuit. It’s challenging because the corners are quite tight, especially around the Pit Building. We haven’t seen what is up there but from memory and looking at the roads, I think the corners are quite tight and quite fast as we expected. But all the riders here are good riders, everyone knows how to handle their bike well. The Singapore team want to definitely be aggressive and we’ll definitely try to get an advantage up the road at some point. And hopefully we can stay away from the bunch, because I think if it comes down to a sprint finish, we have one of the greatest sprinters of all time in Mark Cavendish, waiting to launch his sprint. We have to be aggressive, attack and work the road and try several moves … just soak up the experience and not be too overwhelmed by them, but just treat it as any bike race and do our best.”
Day 1 of the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium will close with a one-night only show by the critically acclaimed live music extravaganza Synthony, who made their Asian debut at The Float @ Marina Bay. Their performance featured a breathtaking fusion of electronic dance music, DJs, vocalists, instrumentalists and live orchestra, with Singapore’s very own fully-independent professional symphony orchestra – Metropolitan Festival Orchestra.
The second day of the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium opens with the Amateur Criterium, which has men’s and women’s races. Riders competing in the Amateur Criterium will race on the same circuit as the professional race, which will flag off at 4pm.
Visit www.singaporecriterium.com for more information.
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