New win­ner for the Tour of the Dragon

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

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.

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