Vietnam's south-central coast heats up with major cycling tour

By Luong Phu - Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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Cyclists pedal past the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City on October 12 during the 17th Southern Revolution Cycling Tour. Photos: Luong Phu - Minh Hung
This year's annual race brought harsh competition to 65 cyclists racing in 13 teams.

Cyclists will race in seven stages starting from HCMC through the provinces of Ba Ria Vung Tau, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Lam Dong, Binh Phuoc and Binh Duong. The last stage wraps up in HCMC's Hoc Mon District on Saturday (October 18).

Each stage is divided into two or three sections which saw tough competition for points and awards at each "sprint" check-point.

Nguyen Thanh Tam of Hat Ngoc Troi An Giang team finished first at the first stage from HCMC to Ba Ria Vung Tau province.

Cyclists take off in Vung Tau and head for Phan Thiet on Monday (October 13). 

Cyclists speed out of the beach town for the race's second and longest stage with 165 kilometers (102 miles). The shortest stage is 55 kilometers with ten passes around the Xuan Huong Lake.

Cyclists ride in a line to avoid facing the headwind and minimize power loss. The leader of the group is often seen zig-zagging to cut off the unexpected "tail".

Tang Tri Hung of ADC Vinh Long Television crossed the finish line to win the second stage at 4h15m04 with an average speed of 39.5 kilometers per hour (24.5 mph). 

Big motorcycles clearing the road to protect the cyclists during the race.

Diligent motorists from HCMC Bicycle and Motorcycle Association clearing sand off the street to protect the cyclists.

A four-wheel motorcycle led the race, followed by three Honda Gold Wings and dozens of others.

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