The 2013 Smart Cambodia MTB Series heads into its dramatic concluding round this Sunday with a downhill dash at Phnom Baset, located roughly 35 kilometres north west of Phnom Penh.
Following races at Silk Island, Kep, Prek Leap and Kampong Speu over the past seven months, the fifth stage sees several of its divisions going right to the wire.
A significant amount of focus will be cast upon the blue riband event, the A1 Elite class, which has its leader of the standings, Ngul Lech, hold just a six-point advantage over second placed Yoeun Phyuth.
Flying Bikes team rider Ngul Lech has had an outstanding season so far, triumphing in the Kep and Kampong Speu legs as well as winning the Bokor Cycling Challenge in Kampot province on October 27 and coming runner-up in the Thansur Bokor Challenge on May 5. He also won the 2012-2013 National Cycling Championship and the Hun Sen Cup race around Wat Phnom on January 7.
The 21-year-old Svay Rieng native is slated to represent the Kingdom at the SEA Games in Myanmar next month, where he will compete in both mountain bike and road race events.
Having taken up competitive cycling two years ago, Lech gives credit to his team and coach for supporting his development as well as motivation from his family members.
He assures that nerves will not be a factor at the top of Phnom Baset on Sunday as he looks to seal victory in the 2013 MTB Series.
“I am always confident when I start my races,” he told the Post.
Yoeun Phyuth, who like his rival Lech is studying engineering at university, will go all out in his assault of the summit. The 18-year-old EYCycling team rider has impressed many this year in scoring wins at both Silk Island and Prek Leap.
With 25 points on offer for the winner of Sunday’s race, Ngul Lech has 92 points, Yoeun Phyuth has 86 points and Pierre-Yves Catry, owner of Flying Bikes 2 shop and organiser of the series, is third with 77 points.
The A2 Expert class for riders over 30 is not quite a foregone conclusion, although front runner Srey Ya has a commanding lead of 17 points over Arnaud Demarti. Meas Samnang has a respectable 69 points considering he missed the series’ first race.
Mol Sim Lim has already sewn up the title in the B Intermediate Class as he resides on 90 points compared to the 62 of closest rival Simon Gadient, while Roeun Vireak has 59.
The C1 Junior class (ages between 14 and 18) is Aem Pok’s to lose as he has a 20-point lead over Dy Kakda. Sam Pheara is third, 25 points adrift of the leader.
The C2 Novice class (19 to 39 years old) sees Sang Seyha wheel into the final race with a 17-point cushion over Sareth Phlong and a 25-point cushion over Erik Ingman.
Ervin Rellin heads the C3 Novice class (40 years and over) with 70 points, closely followed by Tony Maling on 62 and Tang Tech Hour on 60.
The Women’s division should produce some fireworks as sisters Heng Sivlang (91) and Heng Sivgech (82) attempt to reel in three-time race winner Jolanda Zwetsloot on 95 points.
And the Kids class is another nail-biter as Suy Meng Heng (69), Suy Meng Heang (63) and Yoeun Chanreath (54) vie for overall glory.
Races start on Sunday from 8:30am with the A1 class set to flag off at 3pm. An awards ceremony will be held about 4:30pm on site with trophies, medals, cash prizes and bicycle accessories on offer.
Registration can be made up until tomorrow at Flying Bikes 2 shop (No 131, St 51) or by phone to Smey on 098806035. Fees range between US$3-10 and transport to Phnom Baset will also be available for between $2-5. Lunch is included for all entrants.