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.

2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The HC climb up Mount Dizin afforded dazzling views for those who had time to enjoy … Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The Stone Gate signified the start of the vicious Hors Category climb to 3,400m over 16kms. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Kiwi rider Logan Calder feeling the pain of the sustained climbing at 40kph! Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
This talented Persian girl played the drum during the cultural performance. You can see the stunning diversity of Persian faces here. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Belgium Chief Commissarie, Jean-Pierre Coppenoll, talks about the improvement of Iranian riders but would like to see more of them competing on the European circuit. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
No photo, no photo! says this good-natured soldier who was one of many called in for Tour protection. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
One of the many little Persian Princesses at the prize-giving for stage 2. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
It was a chaotic first morning with things hastily done minutes before the start of stage 1 at the Presidents Tour of Iran. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Rahim Emami (Azad University) takes stage 2’s win over Libardo Nino Corredor. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
This image truly reflects the level of suffering most of the riders underwent to make it through each day. It was a humbling experience for many. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
M.Samad Pour Seyedi (AZAD University) consolidated his yellow jersey grip on day four when he made the breakaway without the Colombians. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
This donkey was too sleepy to take notice of the action that flashed by. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The break feeding during stage 3 of the President Tour. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The sprint for the minor placings. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Miguel Nino Corredor time-trialing to victory during stage 3. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Some of the many young supporters out in force for the stage 3 finish in Boomehen Town. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The Tabriz-Petrochemical Cycling Team bicycles equipped with Lightweight Wheels. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The two special security agents hired in to ensure the foreign riders would be safe throughout their Iran stay. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The mega-strong Azad University Team dominated the 2011 Presidency Tour of Iran. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The Azad University Team were the team to beat at the President Tour of Iran. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
This Iranian camera-man was lucky when he escaped major injuries or even death when he was riding on the bonnet of a media car trying to get a good vantage point to film the race! Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The crosswinds on the Perisan Gulf Freeway were horrendous. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Both the Colombians had to ride at the front all day as they missed the early selection that included Azad University’s yellow jersey. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The Persian Gulf Freeway runs through a dry acrid desert. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
More young supporters out enjoying the sunny day to see the racers take off from Aradan Village. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The peloton content to ride easy through the highway section before trying to reel the breakaway back in during stage 3. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Miguel Nino Corredor is completely focused on the job to put as much time on his rivals. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The Colombian Letua rider flies in like a bird to take an impressive victory. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Alexander Malone (Team Plan B Australia) spent most of stage 3 in the breakaway but was dropped on the climbs. He still got a top-20 result. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Riders were too tired to go and play in the carnival ground next to the finish line! Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Amir Zargari (AZAD University) explaining how the stage unfolded. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Alireza Haghi and Abbas Saeidi, both of the Azad University Team recovering after another hard effort during stage 3. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Waiting for the prize-giving, it is a crowded house! Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Miguel Nino Corredor (Letua) congratulates TPT rider Hossein Ali Zadeh on the podium. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The view from the hotel at the end of another long day for the riders. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
A jubiliant Rahim Emami and his gold bicycle that came with the win. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The winners podium of stage 2. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Colorful Persian girls giving a traditional performance at stage 2’s prize ceremony. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The two Colombian super climbers all smiles after stage 2’s great performance. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Libardo Nino Corredor took a comfortable second and retained the yellow jersey for another day. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Best-placed Japanese national team rider, Tomohiro Hayakawa found the climb at end of stage 2 a bit much! Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Rahim Emami (Azad University) was a well deserved winner of stage 2. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Amir Zargari in the mountain jersey struggled up the latter part of the climb to fall behind the small group driven by the Colombian. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Libardo Nino Corredor (Letua) makes climbing look easy as the others struggle in his wake. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
During the final brutal climb during stage 2, the lead group was whittled down to just seven riders. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
This Kazakhstan rider spent all day in the breakaway and suffered on the climb. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Mid-point in the stage, the peloton riding through a desert town. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The winner of stage 1, Libardo Nino Corredor (Letua). He was in the breakaway and soloed away before the Super Climb to win by 1 minute 14seconds. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Once over the 3,400m mountain pass, riders had to negotiate a long treacherous 20km to the finish. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Plenty of switchbacks for the riders to negotiate. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The Super Climb continues its never-ending ascent. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The climb was spectacular, taking in the mountainous scenery near Tehran. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Ex-grand tour rider Nathan Dahlberg (Team Plan B Australia) was in the breakaway but was caught at the base of the Super Climb. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The break is caught just before the climb through the ski resort. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The race heads into the long, but rolling climb at about 1800m. They still have to climb to 3,400m! Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The second group rolls by in pursuit of the four-man breakaway. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The Azad University Team set a hard tempo on the front all day as they had no one represented in the break. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The peloton still intact as we hit the first real climbing section. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Somehow, the entire Astana Track Team found themselves in the breakaway. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
More protection forces in place surrounding the Azadi Sports Stadium, Iran’s largest stadium that also houses the National Cycling Track. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Iran’s version of Red Bull, HYPE MFP Energy Drink. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Current UCI Asia Tour Leader, Mehdi Sohrabi with TPT manager Ali Abdol. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
Iranian Mahan Air rider clearly enjoying the HYPE benefits. Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
One of the HYPE girls hyping a rider up with some drink and small talk… Photo: Daniel Carruthers
2011 International Presidency Tour gallery
The HYPE girls going around handing out the Iranian brand, Hype, energy drink to the riders. Some of the ingredients might be suspect though! Photo: Daniel Carruthers