Muslim country with women in power
A Muslim country, colorful and with a matriarchy, where women set the tone. In addition a breathtaking nature and the old buildings of the Minangkabau culture. You want to immerse yourself in this foreign, magical happenings. The riders can record this only in fragments. Especially when exhausted from the race they have to tackle the long bus transfers, they can look through the windows at the landscape while the stomach growls. A few authentic impressions of it can be read in the Radsport News Diary of the German Robert Müller. Also, his opinion on Niko's "ugly Aero Knee Socks", which a slightly overzealous commissary wanted to punish, but for other reasons.
Thousands of climbing meters and yet only a few seconds
Eight days were battled for the overall standings of the Tour de Singkarak; despite thousands of climbing meters in the end, there were only a few seconds between the top three finishers. Nikodemus Holler ranked third before the final stage, 20 seconds behind the first. The final stage should end as expected in a mass sprint. The only possibility to change something in the GC: the bonus for the podium places. Actually reserved for the sprinters.
So again a review to the first stage
Lucas Carstensen spans the entire team 140kms to control the race with a single goal: A sprint for Lucas. Everything works perfectly, but the signs are wrong. At the 150m mark Lucas starts, looks like the winner, but then the race ends just 250m too late, no finish line at the expected place. The face of Lucas on the finish photo say it all. After that, the Sprinter has to torment six stages over many mountains, driven by one hope: on the final stage, a sprint is possible.
Mr. Adne van Engelen
In between, Adne van Engelen missed his first UCI victory by a few centimeters at the mountain top finish over the Maninjau volcanic crater lake on the 4th stage. After a brief disappointment satisfaction sets in on another top result. With the victory of the mountain finish at the Tour of Poyang Lake and place 7 at the mountain top finish of the Tour of Hainan, Adne has developed his specialty. In addition, the victory in the student World Championships. With the 2018 season, Adne van Eneglen has also become one of the top performers in the team.
Mr. Clint Hendricks
On the sixth stage, it is the moment of Clint Hendricks. He was considered one of the greatest talents in South African cycling, winning the 2016 Cape Town Cycle Tour, with up to 40,000 participants the largest cycling event in the world. But even when he becomes third in the Commonwealth Games in 2018, he gets no professional contract. After endless emails and phone calls with the friendly and focused rider from Johannesburg, we realize he has to get a chance and he took part the last 3 stages races (Iran, Hainan, Singkarak) of the season with BIKE AID. From the first race on, he gets 100% into the team, prepares the sprints for Lucas and waives his own results. Between Kota Solok and Payakumbuh he sets off with a top group and scores the first UCI victory of his career. Conclusion: opportunity well deserved and duty paid.
Back to Lucas
The final stage goes according to plan, it comes to a bunch sprint. But the Sprinter renounces the hoped-for victory and gives Nikodemus the lead. That speaks for the team spirit. The overall rider has already convinced with his sprinter qualities in Hungary, now he gets the bonus seconds for the stage win, is second in the GC of the Tour de Singkarak, just 10 seconds behind the winner Ewart Jesse from Australia. Likewise BIKE AID occupies the second place in the team ranking.
Yes, the things with the superlatives are known to us. But how are we to keep calm in the face of such results from our riders and the entire team? The last race of the season ends like the first. On January 15, Lucas Carstensen opened the season with the first German professional victory 2018 in Gabon, on November 11 Nikodemus Holler also finishes the season like that in Indonesia. We look forward to 2019.