Australian cycling legend wants more riding 'above the clouds' after Vietnam race

Created 24 September 2019
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Cadel Evans, the 2009 Road World Championship and 2011 Tour de France winner, competed in this year’s Coupe de Hue cycling race.

Cadel Evans (L, 2nd( with fellow riders at the 2019 Coupe de Hue, September 21, 2019. Photo by Vu Ha Kim Vy.

Speaking to VnExpress International after the first of the race's two stages, a 15-kilometer 1,270-meter uphill time trial through the Bach Ma National Park, the Australian described the climb as "relentless" but nevertheless said he would "love to come back and try to improve my time."

Describing what race organizers called the Bach Ma Laguna Challenge on a road not normally accessible to bikes, the former BMC rider said, "You start off and you go up, through the jungle, up into the clouds, and then above the clouds. It was fantastic.

"In terms of the difficulty, the gradient, the terrain and the conditions, this was a hard one, probably one of the hardest climbs in Asia."

The Coupe de Hue in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue is the first international standard cycling event to be recognized by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) in Vietnam and is .

In the race, Evans weaved his way through the field of over 200 starters to finish in a time of 58 minutes and 29 seconds. But it was not enough to win, as Spanish pro and 2019 HTV Cup winner took the race in 56:15 minutes.

Evans said the athlete in him could not help wonder what he might have been able to do with more preparation.

"After doing it today I’d love to come back and do it again.

"I do about 30,000 kilometers less on the bike than what I used to do, so I don't even feel trained. Now that I know it, I'd love to come back and improve my time, but as an overall experience, it was great."

Cadel Evans (L, 2nd( with fellow riders at the 2019 Coupe de Hue, September 21, 2019. Photo by Vu Ha Kim Vy.

Cadel Evans (L, 2nd( with fellow riders at the 2019 Coupe de Hue, September 21, 2019. Photo by Vu Ha Kim Vy.

Earlier got stuck in a typically Vietnamese traffic jam following a warm-up ride up the Hai Van Pass.

"That was beautiful," he said of one of Vietnam's most famous landmarks.

"A real adventure going up, and even more of an adventure coming down on carbon rims.

"I then took the shortest route back through town and ended up becoming a real Vietnamese cycle tourist on my sub-6-kilogram carbon fiber bike and race wheels.

"There I was, stuck behind hundreds of motorbikes, chickens running all over the road, Vietnamese grandma getting knocked over carrying 50-kg sacks of rice on the back of her bike.

"That's when I knew I was in Vietnam. Amazing."

Locals stand in front of their houses to cheer riders during the 2019 Coupe de Hue Gran Fondo, September 22, 2019. Photo by Vu Ha Kim Vy.

Locals stand in front of their houses to cheer riders during the 2019 Coupe de Hue Gran Fondo, September 22, 2019. Photo by Vu Ha Kim Vy.

Social butterfly

Having stood on the podium after finishing second in Saturday's ‘test of truth’ time trial, Sunday’s 150-km Gran Fondo from Hue to A Luoi and back was a more relaxed affair for the 42-year-old legend.

Happy to be what he described as a "social butterfly" on the bike, he said after racing out to A Luoi he took the time to enjoy the "incredible" scenery. He even posted on his Instagram account for the first time ever during a race.

"After staying with the front group on the way out I dropped back a bit and rode back on my own.

"In these types of races, everyone wants to beat me, but sometimes I just want to enjoy the scenery, and today it was beautiful."

A section of the course of 2019 Coupe de Hue Gran Fondo. Photo courtesy of Coupe de Hue Gran Fondo.

A section of the course of 2019 Coupe de Hue Gran Fondo. Photo courtesy of Coupe de Hue Gran Fondo.

For the record, Perez was again too strong for the rest of the field, finishing first in a time of 3 hours 53 minutes 7 seconds to claim the overall winner’s prize of VND15 million ($647).

In the women’s category, Michelle Tse of China won in a time of 4 hours 39 minutes and 10 seconds.

 

Source: VNE

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