The 9th edition of the popular ‘Tour of the Dragon’ will kick off today from Bumthang and finish at the Clock Tower in Thimphu.
A total of 48 contestants are participating in the one-day race that includes 30 Bhutanese riders and 18 foreign cyclists. The race will start from Chamkhar town in Bumthang at 2 am today.
The ‘Tour of the Dragon’ is considered as one of the toughest one-day bike races in the world covering a total of 265 kilometers over four Himalayan Mountain passes before finishing in Thimphu. The ‘Tour of the Dragon’ was conceived by His Royal Highness Prince JigyelUgyenWangchuck in 2010. It’s an annual race now that is organized by the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) to promote Bhutan as an adventure sport destination to the international market.
The winners of the Tour of the Dragon will be awarded a cash prize of Nu 150,000, Nu 90,000 and Nu 75,000 respectively along with certificates. The youngest and the eldest rider to complete the race within the cut-off time will also be awarded cash prize of Nu 10,000.
Meanwhile, the four time champion of the ‘Tour of the Dragon’ mountain bike race, Sonam, 35, will not race this year due to injury. Sonam, popularly known as the “Son of Dragon” first bagged the title in 2012.
He was the fastest rider in 2013, 2015 and 2017. On his debut race, he came second in 2011 and bagged the third position in 2014 and withdrew from the 2016 competition because of shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, the other race, the fourth edition of Dragon’s Fury will be flagged off at 10 am from Lobesa, Punakha. This race was inaugurated in 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the 4th DrukGyalpo.
A total of 68 participants will take part in the 60 kilometers race that has four categories – senior and junior men, senior and junior women.
Tshering from Thimphu