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Cyclo revolution takes city!

Cyclo revolution takes city!

A fter an unexplained delay of two weeks, Cambodia's first

ever cyclo races in living memory got off to a rousing start in the capital with

thousands of eager fans cheering on sixty two-man teams of cyclists who raced

feverishly in the hopes of obtaining a coveted gold trophy and a hefty cash

prize.

Sam Morn, along with his partner Ry Long, were the lucky and

surprisingly not so exhausted winners of the "Four Hour

Cyclopousse".

"I'm very happy with the victory," said Long on his way to

the winner's circle.

"I feel as I always do," added Long, "Because I'm

already used to pushing heavy loads on my cyclo everyday. I didn't need to spend

extra energy when it was so empty. I only went faster."

The champions

celebrated their victory with a bottle of Tiger Beer.

The champions

gratefully accepted a gold cup and one million riels ($400) in cash from First

Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who also awarded the victors with an extra

200,000 riels from his own pocket.

The race was organized by the Ministry

of Tourism, with sponsorship provided by the French oil company Total and

Coca-Cola of the U.S.

The four-hour cyclo extravaganza was the first of

its kind in Cambodia in 30 years.

Enthusiastic race watchers flanked

Preah Sothearos Blvd. to watch the race. Some residents along the course,

sensing the heat that the riders might be suffering from, took to spraying

riders with water as they raced by.

Race entrants pedalled feverishly for

a total of 80 kilometers, starting at 11 am and ending at 3 PM.

Winner Ry

Long left school four years ago to become a cyclo-driver as his family needed

the income.

 

His partner, Sam Morn is a demobilized soldier.

Both champions said

their daily maximum income was about 10,000 riels ($4).

They said they

would use the money to buy new cyclos and send the rest to their parents in the

provinces.

Mom Heap and Yoeun Yong came in second and picked up 800,000

riels for their efforts.

Kong Sambo and Ky Chantha emerged third and

received 500,000 riels.

All in all, the cyclo races were well received by

both participants and observers. Plans are in the works for a second

"Cyclopousse" next year.

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