Tran Tuan Kiêt claimed his fourth victory for Dopagan in the bunch gallop that put an end to stage 16 of the 32nd HTV Cup, a 51km criterium featuring the scenic lake side of Da Lat, "the City of Eternal Spring" that was developed as a resort by the French colonialists at the beginning of the XXth century and remains a popular touristic attraction of Vietnam’s southern Central Highlands.
Second on the line, former race leader Nguyen Tan Hoai of Domesco, took seven seconds of time bonuses to move up to second overall behind solid race leader Javier Sardá Perez from Spain.
"I knew it would be hard to beat Tan Hoai because he’s also motivated by the general classification but I’m very happy to get one more win thanks to my team," Tran Tuan Kiêt said after the finish.
Tran Tuan Kiêt and Nguyen Tan Hoai are actually kind of teammates. They ride for the same sponsor, Dopagan being a paracetamol brand produced by Domesco, and they hail from Dong Thap, a small province in the Mekong delta, bordering Cambodia in the southern part of Vietnam. It’s a hot bed of Vietnamese cycling. Out of sixteen stages contested up to date, they total eight victories, four for each rider.
Nguyen Tan Hoai disrupted the dominance of TP Ho Chi Minh on GC as he ejected from the top 3 Nguyen Truong Tai who took over from him in the lead of the overall classification throughout the team time trial on stage 13 before Sardá took the yellow jersey on stage 15. The Spaniard didn’t seem worried about Nguyen Tan Hoai who has 36 seconds deficit with two stages to go. “We controlled stage 16 pretty comfortably with the team," Sardá told Cyclingnews.
Stage 17 from Da Lat to Bao Loc (110km) will offer a lumpy terrain that will favour breakaways before the flattish grand finale in Ho Chi Minh on Sunday.
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