|Trần Tuấn Kiệt of Đồng Tháp celebrates winning the seventh stage of the HTV Cup 2022. This year's Cup will be organised on April 2-30. Photo nld.com.vn|
HÀ NỘI — The nation's largest cycling tournament, the HCM City Television (HTV) Cup, will begin on April 2, and finish at the city's Independence Palace on Reunification Day on April 30.
In its 35th edition, 11 teams and 98 cyclists will race 25 stages through 31 cities and provinces from north to south.
"Cyclists will tour through almost 3,000km with only four rest days and a team time trial day," said Ngô Quang Vinh, general secretary of the HCM City Cycling and Motor Sports Federation.
"I think that to get high results, competitors must be focused and work hard. Meanwhile, team managers must carefully build plans for their team because it is a tough race with a tight schedule."
The first stage will be 25 laps equaling 42.5km around Hoàn Kiếm Lake in Hà Nội.
Cyclists will then pass Hà Nam and Ninh Bình to reach Thanh Hóa Province. They will bike to Nghệ An to reach the central region before going to the Central Highlands. The next stops will be in the coastal provinces with the beautiful beaches of Khánh Hòa and Ninh Thuận.
The peloton will travel to the southwestern provinces such as An Giang, Tiền Giang, Trà Vinh, Đồng Tháp, and Bến Tre, before ending at the Independence Place in HCM City at noon of April 30, National Reunification Day.
"This year, the organisers make some changes, such as longer stages and stages with more hills and sloppy terrain to make the tournament tougher," said Vinh. "It is expected to see a competitive break through from all participating squads."
|Organisers at a press briefing about the 2023 HTV Cup on March 20 in HCM City. — Photo of HTV Cup|
At a press conference on March 20, organisers announced that more than VNĐ2 billion (US$84,600) would be awarded to the best cyclists. The overall winner of the 2023 HTV Cup will receive VNĐ200 million.
The best sprinter and 'King of the Mountain' will earn VNĐ50 million each, while the best young rider will take VNĐ30 million. The stage winner will also secure VNĐ20 million.
Teams have set up their intensive training for weeks to prepare for the most important event of the year.
Many of them, such as HCM City, An Giang, Đồng Tháp, the Military, Đồng Nai and Bình Dương have moved to Đà Lạt, which has cool weather and its mountainous terrain mixed with plains are prime for cycling.
"We have been here for about three weeks," said coach Nguyễn Quốc Nguyên of the Military. "We choose to train in Đà Lạt due to its elevation and thinner air, so when we are in the plains, we will be much better and faster."
In addition, teams have hired foreign athletes.
HCM City's Russian Igor Frolov, who won last year's yellow jersey, will defend his top position. He will be supported by Vladislav Duiunov, also from Russia, who won the domestic road race in 2020.
Đồng Nai re-signed two Mongolian competitors, Baasankhuu Myagmarsuren and Erdenebat Bilguujargal, while Đồng Tháp has put their trust in Loic Desriac from France. Bình Dương is backing former winner Javier Perez from Spain.
Other teams, such as An Giang, have kept their 'foreign weapons' under wraps.
"After 34 seasons, HTV Cup has made up its reputation in the community," said Thái Thành Chung, deputy general director of the HTV. "This special edition marks our 35th anniversary, a big milestone."
"Apart from competitive race, the tournament will continue our mission of publicizing beautiful Việt Nam when we pass by scenic spots of the localities," he said. "Those will be the most beautiful and vivid images with bold cultural identities sent to domestic and foreign tourists.”
|Horse Speedy, the tournament's mascot, will tour with cyclists at the HTV Cup. — Photo courtesy of the organisers|
Chung added that the HTV Cup was not only a sporting event but also spread different messages, urging people to protect the environment, encouraging the cycling movement and taking various voluntary and charity activities.
Under the sponsorship of the Tôn Đông Á Company, cyclists will present gifts to families with difficulties in all areas they race through.
All stages of the Cup will be live broadcast on HTV channels, local TV stations, and fan pages of HTV and the cycling federation. VNS