Between next December 5 and 11, Cuba will for the first time host one of cycling‘s most spectacular events: ‘The Tropics of Titan’ of mountain biking will be competed for on a route in the northern coastal provinces of Artemisa and Pinar del Rio.
According to Spaniard Juan Porcar, delegate consultant for the Spanish firm RPM Events who organized the event and created the competition, to date competitors from Spain, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama and the U.S. have registered for the event.
Having made three ‘check-up’ trips, Porcar predicted that the organizers are certain The Tropics of Titan -- limited this time to a total of 150 cyclists -- is destined to become a regular competitive event in Cuba.
The 450km race will have stages of the competition which are designed to be of a shorter distance than a conventional race, and on December 5 the 30km opening stage will take place on the streets of west Havana.
The following day is the Havana-Terrazas stage, on December 7 is Terrazas-Sorroa, on December 8 Soroa-Mil Cumbres and on December 9, the Mil Cumbres-Viñales stage.
The final of the event created by Porcar in 2006 is scheduled to take place at the heavenly Cayo Jutías beach on December 10.
The primary objective of the event is to test the willpower, strength and sacrifice of a cyclist in a race over many stages that incorporate challenging elements such as mountainous or desert settings.
José Mujica, (monarch of the 2015 Guantanamo-Havana Classic), Álvaro Soca, César Rodríguez and Yasmani Balmaceda will be on the Cuban men‘s team, with Olga Echenique and Danay Martínez on the women‘s.
The cyclists will race over cross country trails, with stretches that border the northern coastlines of both provinces and just like other visitors they will pass through some small towns as they go, without the street closures associated with the Tour of Cuba race.
The humidity and the leafy Cuban trails evoke the promise of a very different type of adventure from the arid and dry landscapes of the Sahara desert and Moroccan mountains, permanent settings for the competition, won last May by Colombian Diego Alejandro Tamayo.
A VERY DEMANDING TRIAL
The Titan of the Desert is thought to presently be one of the toughest and most demanding tests of this type of cycling in the world.
What can be added to the irregular terrain of the tour is the strict compliance to rules which dictate that each competitor can commence each stage with 3 liters of water, a GPS or compass, and their own tools in case of any trouble with their bike as the aid of mechanics is prohibited during the trials. The cyclists must also camp out in tents for the duration of the tour.
One of the differences between this type of competition and the traditional cycle race tours is that a cyclist who fails to finish a stage is not disqualified from the next one as a result, although he or she is excluded from the overall race rankings.
The winner is the cyclist who covers the course in the lowest time possible.
Competitors from the Tour de France and other grand tours, who enjoy these events as a hobby, are expected to participate in Cuba.Share on FB Share on TT