Sunday, January 02, 2011

Taiwan -- Day 8 Taiwan Cup Press Conference 2010, Banqiao Train Station

The next morning we had another early morning press conference for the Taiwan Cup 2010.  Once again I was up at 6am to pack my bags and grab some breakfast before heading out.  The breakfast buffet at the La Rotisserie was scrumptious. It had a huge variety of super tasty food (east and west), an egg station, waffles, cereals, cheeses and breads.

Checkout at the Palais de Chine was chaos.  It seemed that the entire hotel was checking out within the same hour.  The upper and lower lobbies were filled with the cycling teams, their managers, the luggage, and boxes and boxes of bikes.  It was a zoo of people but the hotel staff was excellent and managed everything with grace and calmness.  No red faces or curtness or shortness of answers, and I don’t believe they lost a single piece of luggage. Incredible job!

We arrived at the Banqiao Train Station at 9am. We used the bus ride over to put together our interview questions as John had told us that we would most likely get some on-on-one time with Oscar Freire and/or Team Rabobank.  The conference was to last approximately two hours and then we would ride the train for a ten-minute ride to Taipei Station.  All the teams were in attendance, as well as a large number of media, sponsors, and the government dignataries.  King Lui, Mr. Mao and Ms. Janice gave short speeches before climbing on stage with Oscar Freire.

Banqiao Station

Then Oscar and the officials rode stationary bikes while a short video of Taiwan scenery played behind them. Then there were some photo ops and down into the station to ride the new modified trains.  A major point of the press conference was also the announcement of the new cycling trains.  These modified cars would allow cyclists to bring their own bikes along with them in the same train car. 

Team Rabobank, Taiwan Cup Press Conference

Oscar Freire, Team Rabobank


Erik Dekker and myself.

Mr Mao and myself on the new modified train cars.

We rode one of the new cars with Team Rabobank and King Lui and Mr. Mao and Ms. Lai.  Wireless Mark interviewed Oscar on our behalf and I had a great chat with Erik Dekker. What a gorgeous looking man and really nice and friendly to boot. I wish I had of known that he would have been there and I would have made sure to get him in touch with my cousin DJ (Carita) La Nina.  He wouldn’t have made a bad cousin-in-law or even an uncle.  When we disembarked at Taipei Station our bus met us and we headed off for a dumpling lunch, which was delicious, and then to see Taipei 101.

Oscar Freira (Team Rabobank) and myself,
Taiwan Cup 2010 Press Conference

The new modified train cars in Taiwan. 
Riders and their bikes can now ride in the same car.

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