President José Ramos-Horta Announces International Cycling Event:

The TOUR DE TIMOR - AUGUST 24TH  - 28TH 2009

President of Timor-Leste and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. José Ramos-Horta today announced the inaugural Tour de Timor bicycle race, which will run from August 24th to 28th 2009.  The event is a unique 5 day 350km mountain-bike road-race, which has a lucrative prize pool of USD$50,000, offers free registration and entry for participants and significant regional and international press coverage. The Tour de Timor will be an unparalleled means for participants and supporters to experience Timor-Leste, travelling through 9 of Timor-Leste’s 13 Districts in just 5 days, with 4 nights in and amongst traditional villages of Timor-Leste. President Ramos-Horta welcomes all participants and supporters to utilise the Tour de Timor as an opportunity to showcase the wondrous beauty of Timor-Leste as well as contribute alongside the President and people of Timor-Leste in making the capital Dili a ‘City of Peace’ in 2009.

The first of what will be an annual event, Tour de Timor is being billed as a major sporting challenge but one delivered in the spirit of international peace. As President Ramos-Horta described it, “We Timorese have had the benefit of extraordinary international support for our commitment to the creation of a democratic, inclusive, and harmonious society. As we move towards achieving that goal, it is fitting that we celebrate our potential with friends and neighbours from across Timor-Leste and from overseas. Tour de Timor will bring people together in a spirit of friendly competition, where ultimately everyone’s a winner”.

The President then announced that the overall first prize will be worth USD$15,000, with the overall prize money summingUSD$50,000. Generous prizes will be given to teams and individual placing with additional prizes for the first female, junior and masters entrant.

Tour de Timor is a multi-stage bicycle race that is open to Timor-Leste and International cyclists. The race distance is approximately 350km, spanning the beautiful coastal and mountain environs of Timor-Leste.  The race reaches altitudes of approximately 2000m, and when racing from sea level, this makes the hill stages on the Tour as challenging as any hill section in the world. The course has been designed to take riders through the most spectacular terrains of Timor-Leste: from high mountain ranges to tropical jungle, through the cool high-altitude coffee country and along the picturesque undulating coastlines. The course will start in Dili on the morning of Monday the 24th of August and end in Dili on Friday the 28th of August 2009.  Arrival registration will occur on Saturday and Sunday 22/23 August 2009 at the new Presidential Palace in Dili.

Route. The challenging circuit of the Tour de Timor travels from Dili on the first day to the old coastal city of Baucau, with 131km of undulating coastal roads through fishing villages and volcanic plains. Day two is a challenging climb taking riders over the ancient lands of Baucau and Viqueuque through the great mountains of Mundo Perdido and Matebian, and finishing at the FALINTL hill country town of Loihuno, Viqueque. Day three is a flat ride where competitors will ride through riverbeds and along bumpy roads through the stunning south coast through Natabora and Betano, Day 4 is the most challenging day with a near 2000m climb over the spine of the country, before a relieving downhill to the mountain retreat of Maubisse, under the careful watch of the soaring Mount Ramelau. The final day takes riders through undulating terrain, through beautiful rice paddy fields and thickly forested mountain coffee plantations with a dog-leg through the town of Gleno before a descent into Dili.

There will be both individual and team categories using international cycling standards and rules of racing. All participants are encouraged to form teams (of 4 riders) and those who are not will be grouped in to teams for friendly and administrative purposes. The cumulative times of each rider will be counted to give the overall points which will determine the final results. Like the famousTour de France bicycle race, riders will only race during the day and rest during the evening. The leader of each stage will wear the yellow leader’s racing shirt for the following day, adding to the excitement for the riders and spectators along the course.  

President Ramos-Horta went on to say, “We extend a warm invitation to the Timor-Leste and International cycling community, and to anyone who wants to try – even the Media! - to join us on a unique journey through the world’s newest nation.  Journalists from television, radio and print are especially welcome to bring this exciting and unique event into the lives of people around the nation and to our friends and adventure enthusiasts around the world”. 

The Tour de Timor is the principal sporting event of the historic 10th Anniversary of the Popular Consultation celebrations to be held this August 2009.  The period of the race has been structured so that International competitors can fly in on the weekend of Sat/Sun 22-23 Aug 09, and return on Sat/Sun 29-30 August, thus escaping for only one working week. Of course all participants are encouraged to join in the many events that will occur on the weekend of 29/30 August for the biggest celebrations of the year in Timor-Leste.

Regional States and Nations are encouraged to support representative teams in the same spirit as the successful ASEAN and ARAFURA games. With only 11 weeks until the race the organising committee is committed to assist with coordination and providing information to help representative teams compete in the event.

Interested parties can apply for sponsorship opportunities for this event, which will be filmed, televised and made available for international distribution.

For further information contact:

The Tour de Timor Public Relations / Sponsorship Manager, Sean Borrell on +670 7382208 /

Visit Tour de Timor Website at


A Timorese competitor negotiates the mountain passage near Aileu during the 'Ride for Peace' race from Maubisse to Dili held in November 2007. The accustomed Timorese riders smashed International opposition taking out the top 9 places.

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