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Ngul Lech crowned champ of Kirirom MTB Challenge

Flying Bikes founder and rider Pierre Yvas Catry tackles a downhill section of the Kirirom Mountain Bike Challenge
Flying Bikes founder and rider Pierre Yvas Catry tackles a downhill section of the Kirirom Mountain Bike Challenge on Sunday. BOBBY VICERAL

Ngul Lech crowned champ of Kirirom MTB Challenge

A familiar looking podium was filled in the A1 Elite class of the 9th Kirirom Mountain Bike Challenge on Sunday, with Smart Cambodia MTB Series champion Ngul Lech claiming first ahead of national team colleague Yoeun Phyuth and race organiser Pierre Yves Catry.

A total of 169 riders took to the wooded slopes of the Kampong Speu national park, competing in nine divisions including men’s, women’s and kids races and a new sponsor section over varying course lengths. More than 100 participants had camped out at the track overnight, enjoying a party atmosphere with a BBQ and music.

Flying Bikes Team member Lech once again commanded the elite field with an impressive show of pedal power, completing the three 10.5km laps in a time of 1 hour 30 minutes and 15 seconds. Hopes are heaped high on the 20-year-old to bring back a road race or mountain biking medal from the SEA Games this month in Myanmar.

Just over four minutes behind Lech was 18-year-old EYCycling racer Phyuth, with Flying Bikes Team founder Catry a further two minutes back.

Lech collected $250 and a trophy for his victory, while Phyuth went away with $200 and a trophy and Catry picked up $100. The top five finishers in the A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 and Women’s classes all received cash rewards from a prize pot that totaled $3,150.

Flying Bikes saw another team rider taste gold with 34-year-old Buth Choeun comfortably winning the A2 Expert class in 1:41:21.0. Colas Chervier and Mekong Cycling team’s Kim San rounded off the top three.

Kim San’s teammate Mol Sim Lim came up trumps in the B1 Intermediate class, ahead of Angkor Cycling Club’s Luk Kimly and Sok Chetra of Flying Bikes. Ou Samnang and Sopy Soksan, meanwhile, made it a 1-2 for Flying Bikes in the B2 Intermediate Class, with Swedish cyclist Erik Sundin grabbing the bronze.

Mekong Cycling took the honours in both the C1 and C2 Novice classes, with Aem Pok and Sam Boren securing wins in those races respectively.

With the absence of women’s MTB Series winner Jolanda Swetsloot, who made a bold effort in the A2 class to place eighth, the podium of the females event belonged to the Flying Bikes team. Sisters Heng Sivlang and Heng Sivgech came first and second with Pen Sokly in third.

Rin Monysareun of the Elevate team was top of the Kids class, while a well participated Sponsors competition had Comin Khmer’s Cheam Munit cross the line quickest.

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