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Vietnam’s Coupe De Hue looks for epic comeback in 2021
With the Coronavirus pandemic having put paid to the 2020 edition of the Coupe De Hue, the organisers of Vietnam’s premier cycling event have vowed that the race will return stronger than ever in 2021.
The event, which was due to take place in late September, became the latest high-profile sporting occasion in Vietnam to be postponed due to public health safety concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other major sporting events in the South East Asian nation to have fallen by the wayside due to the pandemic include the Ironman 70.3, a triathlon held in Danang each year, the Ho Chi Minh City installent of the Spartan series and the Hue Marathon.
With the Coupe De Hue now to be held at the same time next year, anticipation for the two-stage, two-day epic, dubbed ‘Vietnam’s toughest road race’, is strong.
Stage 1, the Bach Ma King of the Mountain, comprises an average gradient of 8.3% for 15.2 kilometers, whilst the Stage 2 Gran Fondo comprises a ride of either 70 kilometres or a 140 kilometres, bringing a total of 3100 metres of climbing over 155 kilometres for the bravest riders.
Having established itself as a highlight on the global race calendar since debuting in 2018, the event was set to build on that momentum in 2020.
While the enforced shelving of the event came as a blow for organisers, competitors and cycling fans alike, those behind the race are using the window created by the cancellation to forge new partnerships for the event and to make improvements to its route.
In doing so, they are confident that 2021 will be a red-letter year as they aim to grow the reputation of the race and use it as a way to position Central Vietnam as a hub for cycling and other adventure activities in South east Asia.
Les Walters, Director of Activities at Laguna Lang Co and the Manager of the Coupe De Hue, explained “of course, there is disappointment, but when the safety of competitors and of the local community is concerned there was no other decision to take.”
Walters and his team are now in the process of simplifying the city-based segments of the Gran Fondo, resulting in a faster, safer and more direct route to the finish line in the heart of Hue: Vietnam’s enchanting former imperial capital.
Adam Calver, Director of Golf and Destination Marketing at Laguna Lang Co., added “Laguna Lang Co is committed to boosting adventure and sports tourism in Central Vietnam and is currently finalizing a new exciting partnership that will solidify the Coupe De Hue as the race of choice for keen cyclists for years to come.
“We are working closely with Vietnam’s tourism authorities to ensure we offer the best possible venues for amateur and professional sporting events throughout the region.”
Walters concluded “I believe that this is the best 2-day 2-stage road race in all of Asia.
“The Bach Ma KOM presents challenges equal to the mountain stages of the Tour de France, while there is no more spectacular finale to any Gran Fondo than in the heart of Hue citadel.”
Images: The Coupe De Hue has swiftly established itself as one of the toughest races in Asia (top and below), while the first stage of the Coupe De Hue involves a challenging climb up the forested slopes of Bach Ma National Park (middle).
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