Tour of Thailand: Kazemi won overall - Regiostrom Senges with 3 stage wins

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22.12.2007/ The 2007 edition of the Tour of Thailand was won by Ahad Kazemi. Christoph von Kleinsorgen took the final stage. A race report through the eyes of the Regiostrom - Senges team, with parts of Matthias Bertling's riders diary, Bertling won the third stage.

©  Regiostrom-Senges
Matthias Bertling (© Regiostrom-Senges)

Yesterday Ahad Kazemi won the overall of the 2007 Tour of Thailand (UCI 2.2). The Iranian climber did not dissapoint as he was the big favourite to win the race. The race covered 1150 kilometers (6 stages) from the Khao Yai National Park to the northen city Chiang Mai. Some 81 riders started the race. Participating teams were several Asian national teams and European continental teams like Regio-Senges (Ger), Ysselstreek (Netherlands) and Faeso Denmark.

Some of the European continental teams do a lot of racing in Asia. Regiostrom -Senges rider Björn Glasner won this years edition of the Tour de East - Java (UCI 2.2) but the Regiostrom-Senges team also started at the Tour of Malaysia and the Giro Del Capo (South-Africa).

Cyclingheroes reports the Tour of Thailand through the eyes of the Regio-Senges team, which will be renamed in Kuota-Senges in 2008.

Arrival in Thailand

Regio-Senges Matthias Bertling wrote in his riders diary at : "the flight was very relaxed and everything was organised well." Bertling continued by saying: "With me, Malaya van Ruitenbeek, Björn Glasner, Sören Pettersen and Christoph von Kleinsorgen [the last two riders are guest riders] are here."

For the first training ride, the riders had to ride on a eight line road to leave Bangkok behind them. The Regiostrom-Senges riders did a training ride of 4 hours through the rice fields of Bangkok. Bertling said that the ride "made a lot of fun." But "at times the heat of 35 degrees [celsius] is unbearable."

Stage 1, December 16, 2007, Khao Yai National Park - Nakhon Ratchasima

Bertling: "The first stage brought some sort of preliminary decision. After 30 kilometers a breakaway with 18 riders managed to take off. From our team Malaya was in that group! Unfortunately our man for the overall, Sören Pettersen from Denmark, who is a guest rider in our team, wasn't in the breakaway. So Christoph and I had to chase them and reduced the lead from 2 minutes to 20 seconds. Then Sören and 5 more riders managed to jump to the breakaway group. At the finish both [van Ruitenbeek and Pettersen] didn't have the final punch, the enourmes heat had taken to much power. Place 15 and 19 without time loss are an ideal point of departure for the overall."

Stage 2, December 17, Nakhon Ratchasima - Chiang Mai

Bertling: "Todays second stage was 189 kilometers long. After an early attack of a breakaway group the race was pretty relaxed. The final kilometers were very fast. Malaya was 10th in a bunch sprint. Christoph had a lot of bad luck and had two mechanical problems in the final part of the race but still he got 15th."

Stage 3, December 18, Khon Kaen - Loei

Bertling: "Today was simply great! After yesterdays stage I was angry that I did not give it all in the final. That's why I planned today to go for the mountain points at Kilometer 120 and wanted to try to get the jersey."

"Pretty motivated I attacked immediatly at Kilometer 0. I was lucky, many riders were surprised, I had only one Thai rider at my backwheel. Then all out. In the beginning the lead didn't grow at all, but after a while it grew very fast. After 80 kilometers we already had 10 minutes."

"The mountain classification was postponed, I don't know why. As I rode to the commissioner after 120 kilometers, I almost didn't believe it: a lead of 18:50 minutes. The stage was 205 kilometers long. To make it short:  We rode the whole stage all out. 10 kilometers before the finish we still had 3 minutes, that's when I knew it could work."

"I had great legs and after I increased the pace twice before, I attacked 500 meters before the finish line. The rest was simply amazing.  Being the first to cross the finish line after an attack of 205 kilometers. The bunch sprint was won by Christoph, so we were on the podium with the two of us. Without the supurb work of the others in the bunch, who managed to control the pack, it never would have worked. Sometimes you need a bit of luck! Tonight one or two rounds of beer will become due."

"Its a great feeling to win again after two years!!"

Stage 4, December 19, Loei - Chattakarn Waterfall National Park

Bertling: "Yesterday at the front, today behind. My legs were really bad today. That's why I rode with the grupetto at the second climb after 90 kilometers."

"The stage was really heavy with more then 3000 meters difference in altitude and a distance of 215 kilometers. I'd better had a 25 pinion with me. I rode relaxed today, but my legs are really hurting anyway! I lost 47 minutes today, the guys from Iran and the Philippines climbed very fast. Sören was 9th today and is in the overall top ten. Tomorrow I will try to roll relaxed ´with the pack for as long as possible. Maybe I can try to ride at the front one more time at the final stage of the race which is only 140 kilometers long."

Stage 5, December 20, Uttaradit - Phayao

Bertling: "After yesterdays difficult stage we had over 200 kilometers again today. The first 140 kilometers were fast but my legs were getting better and better. After the mountain classification at kilometer 150 it got serious one more time and again and again small breakaway groups were formed." 

"Malaya managed to jump into the decisive group. The lead was small but in the final 10 kilometers it was clear that the group would take the stage. In the sprint Malaya was the fastest and won the 5th stage."

"I finished with the bunch today. Tomorrow we will give everything for another stage win, maybe it will work once more with a group."

Stage 6, December 21, Phayao - Chiang Mai

Bertling: "Its amazing what happened in the past week here. Today Christoph won after a bunch sprint. Malaya was 5th after Björn launched an amazing long and fast sprint. During the stage Sören managed once more to grab a few important seconds and achieved a great 6th place overall."

"I had an off day today. My coughing got worse and I abandoned after the first mountain classification. The decision was right, even when it was hard, than the season is coming up and its important not come home half dead."

"Malaya and I are sitting at Chiang Mai airport now. We are waiting fot our flight to Bangkok. This week has been incredibly wonderful. I've seen and learned a lot about humans and sports. We have won the most, laughed the most and have eaten the most. With Christoph and Sören we had two nice riders with us. With my first win and many impressions of Thailand, this Tour will be capped in my memory as one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had."

Matthias Bertling concludes his diary of the Tour of Thailand by saying he will post many pictures at the regiostrom-Senges team website in the coming days. The 20 year old from Monschau (Germany) wishes all readers of his diary a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Final General Classification Tour of Thailand 2007
1 Ahad Sarai Kazemi (IRI) Tabriz Petrochem        28.41.45
2 Tonton Susanto (Ina) Faeso Denmark                  0.04
3 Jahanbanian Hossein (IRI) Tabriz Petrochem          0.06
4 Prajak Mahawong (Tha) Thailand                      3.09
5 Irish Valenzuela (Phi) Philippines                  3.17
6 Sören Peterson (Den) Regiostrom-Senges    3.34
7 Okan Bualoi (Tha) Thailand                          3.36
8 Paul Griffin (Irl) Giant Asia Racing                3.37
9 Lloyd Lucien Reynante (Phi) Philippines           
10 Akira Kakinuma (Jpn) Japan

Matthias Bertling
Born: July 6, 1987
Residence: Monschau, Germany
Height: 1.81 m
Weight: 68kg
Turned Pro: 2006
Stage 3 Tour of Thailand

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