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Iran’s Presidency Tour report: Azad University Cycling Team dominates

2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The HC climb up Mount Dizin afforded dazzling views for those who had time to enjoy ... Photo: Daniel Carruthers

TEHRAN (VN) — The International Presidency Tour is in its fourth year and the parcours make this race one of toughest in the world with the race crossing 3,400-meter mountain passes. Many of the foreign teams were shocked to see the stage profiles with only a few days’ notice, which suddenly turned the 708km five-day race into a race from hell, designed for bantam weight climbers.

Only six foreign teams made the trip to participate in the UCI 2.2 ranked International Presidency Tour, including Australia’s Plan B, national teams from Japan, Uzbekistan andKazakhstan, the Astana Track Team, and Malaysia’s Letua team.

Perhaps many of the foreign teams got wind of just how hard the tour would be and stayed away. Only the two Colombians were able to hang with the Iranian’s savage pace on the mountain climbs; the Azad University Team showed they were the best by upstaging the famous Tabriz-Petrochemical Team by taking the yellow jersey and the overall team classification.

It was essentially a two-way battle between Azad University and Letua’s two climbing sensations. It was not till the end of the third stage that Azad’s M.Samad Pour Seyedi snatched yellow by two seconds and then consolidated it during stage 4’s breakaway that did not include the Colombians. Pour Seyedi won the final stage in a thrilling battle between three Azad University riders and a lone Libardo Nino Corredor (Letua) on the final 25km mountain ascent.

To give you an idea of the toughness of this tour, stage one basically consisted of an 115km climb from 1200m to over 3,400m above sea level. This combined with strong head wind for most of the race duration and a rampant Azad University Cycling Team who had no riders represented in the break made things very difficult for the peloton. By the time the race hit the serious hors category climb to the pass, the peloton just exploded into fragments.

You can view Team Plan B Alex Malone’s ride data on the Stava site.

Despite some organizational and logistical challenges, the Presidents Tour of Iran was successfully completed with riders relieved that it was over. It was a race that was far too difficult for the majority of the riders and this was shown in the way the riders were scattered all over the climbs. It was really a race between top five to 10 riders, with the rest riding to survive to meet the time cuts; fewer than 50 riders finished from the original 68.

However, despite all this suffering, the Tour showcased what the Tehran surrounding areas offered: stunning snow capped mountains to the wind-swept dry barren deserts. It was truly a tour that displayed the epic beauty of Central Iran and the 5th International Presidency Tour in 2012 promises to be even better in terms of organization with easier parcours and more level playing field.

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