Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 H’Hen Nie came to the road to commend the first finisher in the opening stage of a Ho Chi Minh City TV-backed annual national cycling tournament on Tuesday.
Considered Vietnam’s ‘Tour de France,’ the HTV Cup tourney has been held annually since 1989.
In its 33rd edition, the competition is organized every year to celebrate Vietnam's national reunification, which was achieved on April 30, 1975.
Its 45km opener took place around Cao Bang City in the namesake northern province on Tuesday morning.
The steep lopes on the route challenged the cyclists, with many of them falling far behind just after the first ten kilometers.
Meanwhile, the leading group staged continuous chases and breakouts.
|Cyclists race in the opening stage of the HTV Cup national cycling tournament in Cao Bang Province, Vietnam, April 6, 2021. Photo: T.P. / Tuoi Tre|
Near the finish line, the last two teams of Ho Chi Minh City-Vinama and Ho Chi Minh City-New Group sprinted to rejoin the leading crowd.
Eventually, cyclist Le Nguyet Minh of Ho Chi Minh City-New Group narrowly beat rider Nguyen Tan Hoai of Duoc Domesco Dong Thap to cross the finish line in the first place.
With the performance, Minh has temporarily worn the most prestigious yellow jersey of the tourney and won the blue jersey of the first leg.
|Cyclist Le Nguyet Minh of Ho Chi Minh City - New Group reacts after finishing first in the opening stage of the HTV Cup national cycling tournament in Cao Bang Province, Vietnam, April 6, 2021. Photo: T.P. / Tuoi Tre|
At the end of the opening stage, to everyone’s surprise, Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 H’Hen Nie came to the road to shake Minh’s hands and congratulate him on the victory.
H’Hen Nie had been crowned Miss Universe Vietnam in 2017 and made it to the Top 5 finalists at the 2018 Miss Universe, the highest-ever finish for a Vietnamese contestant, in Thailand.
At Tuesday’s opener, the tourney’s sponsor, Ton Dong A Corporation, also coordinated with the organizing board to donate VND300 million (US$13,000) to the Border Guard Command of Cao Bang Province in support of COVID-19 prevention and control missions and VND70 million ($3,055) in scholarships for the Ethnic Minority Boarding School in the province.
|A representative of Ton Dong A Corporation (left) hands over a symbolic board of donation to a representative of the Border Guard Command of Cao Bang Province in the opening stage of the HTV Cup national cycling tournament in Cao Bang Province, Vietnam, April 6, 2021. Photo: T.P. / Tuoi Tre|
Cyclists will compete for 130km in the second leg of the tourney from Cao Bang City to Lang Son City in the namesake northern province on Wednesday.