INTRODUCTION: Seydou Ouedraogo of the Ivory Coast took the lead at the end of the first stage of this year's Ivory Coast International Cycle Race when he crossed the line ahead of his rivals after completing the 104 kilometres (65 miles) from Bouake to Yamoussokro.
CU Poster of race on bonnet of car
SV Joseph Kono receiving yellow shirt
SV Mathiou Rodrigue receiving green shirt
CV Spectators as race begins (2 shots)
GV Cyclists going up hill (2 shots)
GV Spectators cheer as cyclists pass through village (2 shots)
SV Cars carrying spare cycles
GV Police convoy leading winners across the line
SCU Seydou Ouedraogo, the winner
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Seydou Ouedraogo of the Ivory Coast took the lead at the end of the first stage of this year's Ivory Coast International Cycle Race when he crossed the line ahead of his rivals after completing the 104 kilometres (65 miles) from Bouake to Yamoussokro. Five teams from four nations are taking part in the race, which finishes in Abidjan on August 2.
SYNOPSIS: The event started with a preliminary race around the streets of Bouake. This was to decide who would start the race in the yellow and green shirts of the race leader and runner-up. The coveted yellow shirt went to Joseph Kono of Cameroun and the green shirt to Senegal's Mathieu Rodrigue.
The race is organised by the Ivory Coast Cycling Federation, and this is the twelfth time it has been held. Two of the teams taking part are from the Ivory Coast. The others come from Niger, Cameroun and Senegal. By the time they reach the finish, the 35 competitors will have covered 1,031 kilometres (641 miles) in ten stages.
Hill climbs make the event a test of stamina as well as tactics. And roads that, on some stretches, are little better than dirt tracks make it a test of machines. Bouake, where the race began, is 350 kilometres (217 miles) north of Abidjan, and ranks as the Ivory Coast's second most important city. The organisers hope the race will raise cycling standards in Africa.
The spectators cheer the competitors on their way just as enthusiastically in the villages as they do in the towns. The period of the race is dubbed "The Coffee Week" to publicise what is a major export crop for the Ivory Coast.
The weather was less than kind to the competitors as they came up to the finish of the first stage of the event, and the police cars which led them into the town did so with headlights shining through the gloom.
Nevertheless, it was all sunny smiles for Seydou Ouedraogo as he relaxed after the race.