Javier Perez crosses the Ngoan Muc Pass first at the HTV Cup on April 27, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Van Thuan.
An excellent performance across two mountain passes enabled Spain’s Javier Perez to claim the polka dot jersey in the Vietnam National Men’s Multi-day Bicycle Stage Race.
The 19th stage of the race, also known as HTV Cup, on Tuesday was the most challenging one to date, with the course taking the riders from Phan Rang Town up to the mountain town of Da Lat. It pitted two experienced cyclists, Perez and Frenchman Loĩc Desriac.
Perez was the first to Ngoan Muc Pass and second to Prenn Pass, and claimed the jersey given to the cyclist with the most mountain points.
But Desriac has the race leader’s yellow jersey after going past Perez at Prenn Pass and finishing the stage in a time of 3 hours, 21 minutes and 38 seconds.
He said: “I was happy to keep the yellow jersey at this stage. I want to thank my teammates because without them, I couldn’t have achieved this. I spent the whole day reviewing his (Perez) previous races to understand his style and choose the appropriate strategy.”
Loĩc Desriac wins the 19th stage of the HTV Cup on April 27. Photo by VnExpress/Van Thuan.
The race continues on Wednesday with 20 laps around Xuan Huong Lake in Da Lat for a total distance of 51 km.
The 2,450-km race with 22 stages has total prize money of nearly VND2 billion ($86,860) this year.
It started in Cao Bang in the northern mountains on April 6 and will finish at the Independence Palace in HCMC on April 30, National Reunification Day.
The Covid-19 pandemic has meant organizers could not get foreign teams over. Perez of HCMC and Descriac of Dong Nai live in Vietnam and thus are not affected by travel restrictions.