On Tuesday, (16th March) cyclist competing in the "Tour d'Algeria" left Algiers on the first stage of the 12 day race.
On Tuesday, (16th March) cyclist competing in the "Tour d'Algeria" left Algiers on the first stage of the 12 day race. Teams from 13 countries are competing in the event.
The Algerian Minister of Sport and Education, M. Abdalhga Fadel, gave the starting signal for the race -- only the second time it has been staged.
SYNOPSIS: In Algiers on Tuesday, cyclists waited patently for the start of a twelve day race around Algeria. One hundred and three cyclists are taking part.
An international field of cyclists from Algeria, France, Russia, Finland, Bulgaria, Belgium, Switzerland, East Germany, Poland and other countries made up the entry lists.
A large crowd was at hand to see the start. Members of the Polish team signed in at the starting point outside the Minister of Sport and Education. Sports newsmen were also there to cover the event.
The Algerian cyclists have the advantage of being familiar with the terrain but so far, no official has nominated a favourite for the race.
The race has been organised in ten stages from town to town, as well as one race against the clock for each team.
Race officials were introduced to Algeria's Minister of Sport and Education, M. Abdalhga, Then the Minister officially cut the tape to start the race. This is only the second time the race has been held. It is recognised as being one of the toughest road races in the world and is compared with the 'Tour de France'.
Accompanied by official escorts, the cyclists were finally under way. No incidents marred the start of the race but two packs were quickly formed. The race is expected to finish later this month at the Municipal Stadium in Algiers.