Russian cyclist Petr Rikunov of the Tap Doan Loc Troi team emerged victorious in the 11th stage of the 2023 Ho Chi Minh City TV (HTV) Cup tournament on Friday, sprinting across the finish line with no competition from other riders.
The race, touted as one of the most challenging stages of this year’s competition, saw 98 riders traverse nearly 170 kilometers from Quy Nhon City in south-central Binh Dinh Province to Pleiku City in Gia Lai Province, located in the Central Highlands region. Along the way, participants had to battle two mountain passes – An Khe and Mang Yang.
Determined to increase his overall time gap with other competitors, Rikunov was part of a breakaway that included Igor Frolov of the Ho Chi Minh City-Vinama team, Vladislav Duiunov of Ho Chi Minh City-New Group, Javier Sarda Perez of Nhua Binh Minh Binh Duong, and Loic Desriac of Duoc Domesco Dong Thap after the first 50 kilometers.
Frolov and Duiunov orchestrated an assault in order to escape from the trio of their companions in the quintet.
With the support of Frolov, Duiunov continued to break away from the pack and, undaunted, reached the summit of An Khe Mountain Pass first.
After that, Rikunov and Frolov caught up with Duiunov and took the lead of the race, forging ahead and leaving a gap of more than five minutes between themselves and the chasers.
After arriving at the top of the Mang Yang Mountain Pass, Frolov was overcome with exhaustion as he neared the finish line.
Russian cyclist Igor Frolov of the Ho Chi Minh City-Vinama team achieved the remarkable feat of reaching the top of Mang Yang Mountain Pass first in the 11th stage of the 2023 Ho Chi Minh City TV (HTV) Cup tournament. The event, which took place on April 14, 2023, saw competitors travel from Quy Nhon City in Binh Dinh Province to Pleiku City in Gia Lai Province, Vietnam. The feat was captured in a photo by M.Q. / Tuoi Tre.
|Russian cyclist Igor Frolov of the Ho Chi Minh City-Vinama team reaches the top of Mang Yang Mountain Pass first in the 11th stage of the 2023 Ho Chi Minh City TV (HTV) Cup tournament from Quy Nhon City in Binh Dinh Province to Pleiku City in Gia Lai Province, Vietnam, April 14, 2023. Photo: M.Q. / Tuoi Tre
With less than 10 kilometers left to go, Rikunov made a decisive attack, pushing ahead of Frolov to take the lead on his own. He surged forward, determined to stay ahead and secure the victory.
During the efforts to draw level with Rikunov, Frolov suffered a miserable flat tire four kilometers from the finish line.
Rikunov crossed the finish line victoriously in Pleiku City, claiming the top spot all to himself.
This is also his fifth stage win in the tournament.
More than 1 minute 30 seconds later, Frolov secured the second place in the 11th stage of the race.
The victory in Pleiku helped Rikunov solidify his grip on both of the most prestigious awards: the yellow jersey and blue jersey, which are given to the riders leading the time classification and the points category.
Frolov is currently holding onto the red polka dot jersey as the rider with the most mountain points.
The 98 cyclists from 14 competing teams are set to take on the 179 kilometer race from Pleiku to Buon Ma Thuot City in neighboring Dak Lak Province on Saturday. With anticipation building, the cyclists are gearing up for the thrilling challenge ahead of them. Excitement is in the air as the start of the race draws closer, and spectators can’t wait to witness the spectacle unfold.
The race is organized by the Vietnam Cycling Federation and consists of eight stages, spanning a two-week period. It takes cyclists across the country, through cities and countryside alike, and is known for its challenging terrain.
The HTV Cup Race has been held annually since 1989 and is widely regarded as Vietnam’s equivalent to the Tour de France. Organized by the Vietnam Cycling Federation, the race is made up of eight stages spanning two weeks. Cyclists journey across the country, passing through cities and rural areas while tackling a range of challenging terrain. It is a true test of skill and endurance for all involved.
In its 35th edition, the competition takes cyclists through 2,964 kilometers in 25 stages, from north to south, in celebration of Vietnam’s reunification on April 30, 1975. This unique event is a testament to the strength and resilience of the Vietnamese people, who have overcome immense challenges and hardships to come together as one nation. The race is a grueling journey of endurance, with participants facing a variety of terrains and climates, including mountainous and coastal routes. With an estimated 1.5 million people watching along the route each year, the race is a unifying event that brings the country together in celebration of its reunification.