The Cambodian Cycling Federation (CCF) has dispatched a 25-person strong delegation – including 15 athletes – to take part in a Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam friendship bicycle race, which will be held in the Lao capital Vientiane on December 6.

Addressing a December 1 press conference, CCF secretary-general Nou Chamroeun explained that the team had been invited to enter the event at the invitation of the Lao Cycling Federation. The race will also serve as a celebration of the success of the first Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Parliamentary Summit 2023, which was hosted by Laos.

He said the format of the race would be a 40km road event, with teams of five competing.

He added that in addition to deepening the bonds of friendship and solidarity – and exchanging valuable experience – with regional cycling federations, the CCF intended to use the race to develop its own road cycling team and support staff.

The Kingdom’s road cyclists are yet to earn any international medals, in contrast to their mountain biking counterparts, who won one silver and one bronze medal at the 32nd SEA Games, hosted by Cambodia last May.

“During the SEA Games, our road cyclists were unable to secure good results. Therefore, we need to introduce several reforms and recruit new coaches and cyclists, in preparation for the 2025 SEA Games in Thailand and other international events. This race will provide us with an excellent opportunity to assess the current abilities of our cyclists,” said Chamroeun.

“We are also scheduled to enter some international events in Thailand and Vietnam in 2024. Every one of these event will allow us to measure the development of our squad and determine which riders will make up our national squad for the SEA Games,” he added.

In preparation for the Vientiane race, the CCF assembled 15 elite cyclists and began training them in early November. The training programme was unsponsored, so the athletes were training purely out of their love for the sport.

“Although we have not formally selected a national team, all 15 of the riders have dedicated their own time and money to training with the CCF coaching staff. They worked hard to prepare for the [Vientiane] challenge, because they want to earn good results,” said Chamroeun.

Fortunately, a private sponsor has come forward and supplied $3,600 to get the team and their equipment to Laos. The 25-person delegation departed the Kingdom on December 3 and will return on December 7, the day after the event.