New winner for the Tour of the Dragon
The seventh edition of the Tour of Dragon (TOD), Bhutan’s hardest and most popular one-day mountain bike race, took place on 3 September.
Cory Wallace from Canada took the first place and Rajkumar Shrestha from Nepal was awarded the second price followed by Boddha Bdr. Tamang from Nepal in the third place.
His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck also participated in the TOD and provided his expertise and suggests to the new cyclist.
A total of 47 bike riders, including five new entries from Bhutan and 20 new entries from outside, participated in the race. The international participants were from America, Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Nepal, New Zealand, India, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
The mountain race route between Bumthang and Thimphu stretches 268 kilometers across four Himalayan mountain passes ranging from 1,200 meters to 3,340 meters, making it one of the world’s toughest cycle races.
The cycle race pulls together the efforts of five Dzongkhags, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa and Bumthang with over 2,000 school volunteers, 500 officials from the Royal Bhutan Police, Road Safety and Transport Authority, Department of Roads, Ministry of Health, DeSuung and officials from the sports fraternity were deployed to help the riders in necessary.
This is the perfect time for the race as the monsoon have just ended and the cool, crisp autumn weather is just starting to set in as the heat of summer fades. However, the racing was not without challenges. Some of the challenges faced were related to poor road conditions.
Over the last six years, an average of about 40 cyclists participates in race, of which 96 percent of the participants are usually males and remaining are female.
The race is organized jointly between the Bhutan Olympic Committee and Tourism Council of Bhutan to promote Bhutan as an adventure sport destination in the international market.
His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, conceived the race in the year 2010 and it is now an annual race.
In 2015, Sonam from Aman Kora regains his title of the Son of the Dragon who stood first in TOD covered the distance in 11 hours 55 minutes and 52 seconds. However, he couldn’t take part in the race after suffering a shoulder injury during his second international bike race held in the United Kingdom.
The race began at 2 am from Bumthang and ended at the Clock Tower Square in Thimphu followed by a culture programme.