The Races

Pre-Event coverage HERE

Liveblogging Coverage

Day One coverage HERE

Day Two coverage HERE

Day Three coverage HERE

Photo Showroom HERE

 

If there was a weekend in which skin-hugging lycra was the choice clothing, it would have been the weekend of March 4 to 6. At least 150 competitive cyclists ran in Saturday’s races and more than 10,000 participated in Sundays’ Challenges and Rides.

Cyclists were treated to an array of cycling festivities – from the power-packed Professional Criterium to the all-encompassing Community Ride. Three days of intense racing, relaxed riding and eye-gouging bikeporn (Boardman bikes, anyone?) is the best loose summary of this year’s OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011.

The Races

Pedal mashing up to speed after the flag-off at the Master’s Open

Winning was everything on the second day. Saturday marked the hottest day among all three days of the event, and that was because of the line-up of professionals, and the equally hot amateur races. Even the mid-afternoon rain failed to simmer the vibe flowing throughout everyone, including spectators, racers, volunteers and organisers.

 

Omar Bertazzo triumphant

Winners of the Pro Crit: Winsor (3rd), Bertazzo (1st), Meyer (2nd), Motoi (1st Asian Rider), Friedmann (King of the Sprints)

The greatest winners in the Professional Criterium were the Italians. Androni Giocattoli’s Omar Bertazzo, a greenhorn compared to the likes of Ben Kersten, Cameron Meyer or even his own teammates, took the top spot in the Pro Crit with a time of 1:18:55.15. Great strategy was at the heart of Bertazzo’s win. The 22-year old was rather intelligent in his strategy, attacking at the last minute and surprising Dean Winsor, which Winsor noted in the post-ride press conference. Bertazzo won with a lead of 13ms from Winsor, allowing him to garner his first professional career win, and making him US$12,500 richer.

 

Not to be outdone, Ho Jun Rong keeps himself away from the peloton in a good way

The most dramatic win of the whole series of amateur races: Ho’s

‘Epic’ was also the right word for the winner of the Men’s Open Criterium. Seemingly an effortless endeavour, Ho Jun Rong won the Men’s Open Criterium by a large margin. Although statistically, the gap between the runner-up, Evan Quek, was 1.49s, it could have been 3-seconds or so if Ho really made an effort to reach the end in double-quick time. He was, however, celebrating with his hands raised high in the sky after the 50-metre mark. And although a time of 45:02.63 was not his best effort, his confidence and ability throughout the track was just stunning. He was either the breakaway or he was with a small pack in front. Always.

 

 The day started out as cloudy, then it rained, then the sun came out at full-bore.

Masters’ Open winners

Less dramatically, but not discounting the effort involved, the Masters’ and Women’s Open was equally challenging for this group of racers. The Master’s Crit was won by Thomas Wiegand and Tim Clarsen, who came in the first group, with Wiegand winning by a gap of 0.21.

 

Miss 206 is third place winner of the Women’s Open, Mariana Mohammad

Pico Bike Labz totally owned the podium in the Women’s Crit

It was hard to spot the participants of the Women’s Open as they were mixed with the racers from the Master’s in a ratio of one to six. Nonetheless, green and black was the colour of the three winners. Pico Bike Labz completely decked the three spots in the podium, with Nurul Amar, Noor Azian and Marina winning the three top spots in the race. Nurul Amar won with a time of 39:29.48.

The Challenges and the Rides

Much credit has to be given to the organisers of the OCBC Cycle event for their ability to manage such a big crowd on Sunday. The massive crowd of 10,000 cyclists was supported by a great team of organisers, officials and mainly, volunteers.

Working overnight on the venue, barricades were set up over the route that linked the F1 Building all the way to Kallang, to the ECP expressway and then back – a logistical nightmare that was extremely well-managed most of the time, except for the chokepoint around the Crawford Bridge. On a side note, Sunday was the only time where a cyclist could ride against the direction of the road, on sidewalks or more heinously, on an expressway.

The Super Challenge (60km) and the Nissan Challenge (40km) were also races as they were leisure rides. The Super Challenge was flagged off at 6am in the morning. Even before 6, keen participants were already lined up at the starting point. That’s nothing compared to the Nissan Challenge’s participants, who started lining up right after the Super Challenge flag-off.

Does age matter? Serene Lee might be the youngest, but Colleen Ang and Christina Liew show that the spirit of winning is never dampened through the years.

The weather was good, and it was a much safer ride for most as the circuit was a closed track. However, to some, it was a race. Certainly, that was what true for people trying to get on the podium of the two Challenges.
Disappointingly, for a person capable of doing the Pro Crit, Adi Putera came in second in the Super Challenge, beaten by Ang Kee Meng, of the OCBC Bank team too. Serene Lee, of Pico Bike Labz, took the top spot in the women’s classification of the Super Challenge.

 

 

Pico Bike Labz stole the show again, because Edi Purnomo (2nd) was absent on the podium of the winners of the Nissan Challenge

By now, you’ve probably seen the green-and-black team kit all over this event, but having only the fastest and the best riders was also key to their team winning first and third in the Nissan Challenge. Mohd Fahmi Irfan and Abdul Aziz took these two spots respectively, the latter beaten by Edi Purnomo, who was absent from the prize presentation.

 

Ladies of the Nissan Challenge. Low, Costello, Nicolini. Low is from Team Nissan. She took second.

Team Nissan’s ladies were great riders, however, the greatest of which has to be Stacy Low, who came in second in the Nissan Challenge. She was beaten by Suzanne Costello. In the Super Challenge, Serene Lee, who was fourth in Saturday’s Womens Open, took first place.

 

Participants of the Challenges crossing the line

Dahon’s fastest bike, the Speed Pro TT, makes its appearance across the finish line

Community Ride & iFly Singapore Cycle of Hope

The Community Ride – an all-encompassing ride, but mostly for leisure riding

No other day would so many cyclists be seen riding against the direction of the road, and having three full lanes to themselves, including an expressway lane. It is hats-off to the organisers of OCBC Cycle.

The community ride saw 2,122 cyclists participate. This ride was totally antithetical to the rest of the rides. It was a ride that more upright bikes, knobbies, children’s bikes were more evident. There were roadies, but they were few in numbers. This is a community ride after all, which is a ride that attempts to encompass riders of all abilities.
Ending the day was the iFly Singapore Cycle of Hope, a 4km ride, which is a celebration of cancer survivors and their supporters.

Final Thoughts

The Finish Line as seen through a wide angle lens.

The OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011 is one of the biggest cycling events in Singapore. It is hardly surprising that due to good organisation and special privileges, the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011 had a record turnout, ten percent larger than of last year’s.

This is definitely one event that you would want to participate in if you have not, and this event will get ever bigger and larger. Given the rapid expansion of the distances and routes, perhaps next year, we will get a ride that spans a metric century? Only time will tell.