The Kingdom of Wonder will be pedaling its way to next year’s International Cycling calendar if the Cambodian government approves a US$3.2 million proposal by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia to organise a globally televised men’s professional cycling event involving 120 riders of repute from all over the world.
Inspiration for this grandiose project, designed to showcase Cambodia as a world class sporting and tourism venue, had been drawn from the highly acclaimed Tour de Langkawi in neighbouring Malaysia. If the stage format event gets the federal nod, a Tour of the Kingdom of Cambodia would be contested sometime between late January and early February next year, revealed Secretary General of the NOCC Vath Chamroeun yesterday morning.
“Around 20 professional teams and many six-man national teams would be taking part in this event. Right now we are awaiting Government clearance,” said the NOCC official, adding that a Malaysian-based company had been tasked with the organisation of the event in league with a Cambodian event management firm.
The organisers have produced a brochure proposing a 750-kilometre route spread over five stages starting in Siem Reap and ending in Phnom Penh. A road recce to determine the actual distances for each stage along with the fixing of start and finish points would be held soon after the official green light is given.
The five-day event is planned to start with a time trial around the Angkor temples, before a race from Siem Reap to Battambang the following day.
On the third day, the field will compete from Battambang to Kampong Chhnang, and then make a transfer to Phnom Penh to ride up to Kampong Cham. The final day’s race held in Phnom Penh is slated to be a criterium, which features a 2-kilometre or less circuit that riders complete numerous laps over usually in the middle of a city to maximize spectatorship. The exact route has yet to be determined.
Organisers are also planning intermediate sprint competitions in towns along the way as a means of drawing the visitors’ attention to the Cambodian way of life in the provinces.