HA NOI (VNS)— The first ADC Tour of Viet Nam, an official week long event endorsed by the International Cycling Union (UCI), has attracted many international riders to compete when it begins on December 17.
The organisers said 13 foreign and eight local teams will take part in the tour, which is offering generous prize money to the winners.
The overall event winner will get VND50 million (US$2,300), with the winning team collecting VND10 million and each stage winner taking VND16 million. As many as 19 runners-up at each stage will also split prize money.
Strong rivals from China, the US, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Iran are taking part.
They will race five stages over 864km, starting in HCM City through eight Mekong Delta provinces before returning to the city.
The first stage is a 166km stretch from HCM City to Can Tho City.
French on board
At this year's tournament there are two French national racers competing for the local ADC Vinh Long Television team.
Loic Desriac, a member of the Roubaix Lille Metropole and French under-23 team and his brother Gael Desriac, racing for Pays de Dinan, came to Viet Nam and asked for places in the competition.
ADC Vinh Long Television do not have to pay a transfer fee for them but are covering travelling expenses and will award the duo bonuses if they perform well.
The Desriac brothers came to Viet Nam for a week's preparation to familiarise themselves with the weather and terrain and to train with their new teammates in Vung Tau City.
Loic has been in the national team since 2006 and grabbed stage victories at the Grand Prix d'Automne, La Rochefoucauld 2009 and the US Grand Prix this year.
Gael has cycled professionally since 2004 and participated in many different tournaments in Europe.
"It is my first time competing in Viet Nam in a UCI event. I have no idea about Vietnamese cycling but I feel the professionalism of the local racers and see the modern equipment of the ADC Vinh Long team," said Loic.
"The only challenge here is the time zone difference and the weather. It is minus degrees in France now. The heat in Viet Nam makes me drink a lot of water and tire quickly.
"After several days training I am happy and have integrated well with teammates. I am confident that I will compete well," he said.
With the participation of the French, ADC Vinh Long are believed to be the strongest among the Vietnamese teams. The club is home to national leading racers Bui Minh Thuy, Ho Van Phuc and Trinh Duc Tam.
Another team with foreigners is Ha Noi, who have contracted South Korean Kim Yong-pom and Travis Joshua from Singapore. — VNS