The eighth Kirirom Mountain Bike Challenge, featuring a record field of 303 riders competing in eight different classes over the hills of the Kampong Speu National Park yesterday, was dominated by local cyclists.
The U30 expert class was won by Kheng Thy in 1 hour 29 minutes and 48 seconds. The 20-year-old Cambodian collected $250 and a T-shirt, while second-place finisher Pierre-Yves Catry, who is the reigning MTB Series champion and co-founder of the event, took home $200 in cash and a T-shirt.
Catry clocked a time just under a minute behind the winner.
The Over-30 Expert competition was won by Bout Choeun, a 32-year-old Cambodian who completed the course in 1 hour 36 minutes and was awarded $250.
Victor of the intermediate level U30 Class was 18-year-old Yeoun Phyuth, coming in 53 seconds past the hour mark. His elder counterpart, Sopng Soksan, triumphed in the Over-30 intermediate race.
The novice level drew the biggest number of participants, 118 in total, with 35-year-old Chhun Samphoas and 20-year-old Hun Ponlok winning the over- and under-30 categories respectively.
In fact, the only foreign winner yesterday was Dutch expatriate Jolanda Zweetslot, who grabbed gold in the women's competition with a time of 41 minutes.
The kids race for bike enthusiasts younger than 14 years old was claimed by Em Sokphanharith, who traversed the track in 22 minutes to receive bike parts sponsored by Flying Bikes 2 shop.
The Kirirom MTB challenge was originally an event created by bike enthusiasts in the staff of Comin Khmere, a Cambodia-based engineering company set up by Dominique Catry. His son Pierre-Yves was the main instigator of the race.
“As I founded Flying Bikes 2, which specialises in [high end] bicycles, we wanted to promote. And what better way to promote our company and the love for cycling than in this great annual event,” Catry told the Post.
Comin Khmer Managing Director Denis Astgen, meanwhile, said cycling is a sport which metaphorically stands for many values Comin Khmer thinks are important.
“You have to always keep pedaling in order to not fall down, everyone contesting in this event has to push him or herself to the limit and it is a great way to build a team,” he added.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Derbuc at [email protected] reporting from Kampong Speu