Kuenga Norbu from Punakha came first in the open men’s category of the seventh edition of the DANTAK Open Mountain Bike Race. He completed the Changlimithang parking – Paro Dzong – Clock Tower Square race (100km) with a time of three hours and seven minutes.

Kinley Tenzin of the RBA came second (three hours and nine minutes) and Norbu, also of the RBA claimed the third position coming in less than a minute later.

In the open women’s category, 50-year-old Australian Anne Philips grabbed the first position with a time of four hours and five minutes. She was followed a minute later by Canadian Holly Krasmuik from Canada. Rinchen Dema Rabgye claim the third position five minutes later.

A cash prize of Nu 50,000 and a bicycle were awarded to the winners of the men’s and women’s open categories. A cash prize of Nu 30,000 and Nu 20,000 was awarded to the second and third runners up.

Sixty-year-old Australian Philips Stigant won the veteran’s category (Thimphu – Shaba – Thimphu) covering the race in two hours and thirty nine minutes and bagging a cash prize of Nu 25,000. He was followed by 61-year-old Nim Gyaltshen who completed the route in three hours and two minutes and took home Nu 15,000.

In junior’s category (U16), Palden Wangchuk came in first, followed by Tandin Wangchuk

“It was my first race in Bhutan and though it was short in distance, the terrain and turns made the race bit difficult,” said Philips Stigant.

The race began at 6:45am and was flagged off by His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck who was accompanied by DANTAK chief engineer Brigadier PKG Mishra. The prize ceremony was graced by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and finance minister Namgay Dorji also attended the event.

While the race has been held with varying distances in the past, the Bhutan Olympic Committee will be sticking to the same distance for all future races from this year to mark records.

At least 104 cyclers participated in the race organised by Project DANTAK and the Bhutan Olympic Committee.

Tashi Chophel