Excitement filled the air as competitors and spectators alike waited with anticipation for the first official race of the OCBC Cycle Singapore to start. The music hyped up the crowd as bike-related vendors plied their stuff. There were games for the kids too and of course, cotton candy and popcorn were not forgotten. At the rider’s café, The Rock & Ride Music Festival, presented by OCBC Cards, provided excellent live rock music. I felt I was at a bike carnival… but no, this is day 1 of the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011 weekend.
Soon, the air horns went off for the first race - the Women’s and Masters’ Criterium. Tim Clarsen was the first across the line for the Masters’ while Nurul Ahmar Binti Badeuzzamai finished at the front of a strong Women’s field.
The Men’s Open Criterium was a hotly contested battle from start to finish before local hero Jun Rong Ho from the OCBC Singapore Cycling Team stormed home to claim the honours in front of his home crowd.
Other than the Criterium action, the opening day of cycling competition also saw a total of 800 participants take part in the Tricycle Ride (100m) and the various Mighty Savers™ Kids Rides (5km) throughout the evening. The Rock & Ride Music Festival, presented by OCBC Cards, was in full swing by the time the professional cyclists began their warm-ups at 8pm.
Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, flagged off The Professional Criterium, staged at night for the very first time and cheered on Singapore’s strong contingent of eight cyclists.
Italy’s Omar Bertazzo, of the Androni Giocattoli Team, emerged at the front of a world-class line up to cross the finishing line in first place to clinch the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Criterium 2011 in sensational style. Riding in front of a large and vocal crowd at the F1 Pit Building, Bertazzo finished just a whisker ahead of second placed Dean Windsor of Rapha Condor Sharp. Cameron Meyer, one of the pre-race favourites of Garmin-Cervelo, finished in third place.
Matthias Friedemann of Team Champion System was crowned Schick King of Sprints over the five designated sprint laps around the 1.7km circuit. Japan’s Nara Motoi was the top performing Asian cyclist across the finishing line.
Bertazzo said, “My team did a really good job tonight. I felt really good and attacked with two laps to go and got the win. It was quite warm out there but the race was great and I would love to come back next year.”
Day 2 of the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011 weekend expects more excitement from the tight and challenging races. Come back for our report of Day 2!
Here are photos from Day 2 by Bear of 9tr0:
Here are more photos from Andrew Tan:
Text by Aaron Tan, 9tro