The Straits Times
Published on Sep 15, 2012

E. Timor cycle tour recalls memories of occupation


MOTAAIN, East Timor (AFP) - Night-times during the Indonesian occupation meant staying indoors for Franchilina 'Anche' Cabral - she was too scared of the military to do anything else.

Now, 13 years after East Timor voted for independence, its fastest female cyclist and more than 300 others have cycled across the border into Indonesia on the Tour de Timor as a gesture of friendship between the two nations.

This year is the fourth Tour de Timor, but the first time the six-day mountain bike race has crossed international borders, weaving through Indonesian West Timor into the mountainous enclave of Oecusse.

"In 1999 it was really hard because of the Indonesian army," said Ms Cabral, who last year claimed victory in the women's category of the race.