Vietnamese cyclist loses all titles after challenging Thai opponent during race

By Duc Dong   April 10, 2024 | 01:45 am PT
Vietnamese cyclist loses all titles after challenging Thai opponent during race
Nguyen Thi That (R) sprinted first but could not beat Jutatip Maneephan (L) in the final stage of the Tour of Thailand on April 10, 2024. Photo by Thai Cycling Association
Bicycle racer Nguyen Thi That lost the Yellow, Blue and Purple Jersey to Jutatip Maneephan after challenging her during the final stage of the 2024 Tour of Thailand on Wednesday.

After winning the first two days of the competition against Jutatip of the host country, That was holding the Yellow Jersey for best racer, Blue Jersey for best sprint racer and Purple Shirt for best Southeast Asian racer.

With great form and a comfortable mentality, That entered the final stage on Wednesday and was confident to defend her jerseys.

The final track has some small slopes, but is only 70 km long so it was not a challenge for Vietnamese racers. After the race started, Thai riders planned to separate the Vietnamese cyclists and weaken the team. However, the Vietnamese did not let that happen and they did their best to support That to finish first.

When she was 3 km from the finish line, That suddenly approached Jutatip, smiled and said something to her before continuing the race.

Unlike the previous two races where That accelerated last and then sprinted to victory, this time she decided to sprint first. However, she was surpassed by Jutatip and even finished third behind Australia's Claudia Marcks.

By only finishing third, That lost all three jerseys of the tournament to Jutatip.

Nguyen Thi That challenges Jutatip Maneephan during the final stage of the 2024 Tour of Thailand, April 10, 2024. Video by Thai PBS

After hugging the coach and bursting into tears, Jutatip recalled that little conversation with That.

"She told me if I want to win the Yellow Jacket, I can try to beat her. I said sure, I can do it. I'm very happy to have turned the situation around," Jutatip said.

A Vietnamese cycling coach told VnExpress that That was overconfident when she challenged her opponent.

"Maybe That thought she was in great form with only 3 km left to go, so she was sure of her victory. But those words movitated the opponent to win the race," she said.

This coach also regretted that That could not finish second, a position that was enough for her to retain all the jerseys.

"It's a pity for all the efforts of Vietnamese racers," she added.

This is the second consecutive defeat of Vietnam at the Tour of Thailand. In the 2023 tournament, before entering the final stage, That also held the jerseys, but lost the tournament to South Korean and Malaysian riders.

Tour of Thailand belongs to the competition system of the International Cycling Union (UCI). The 2024 tournament includes 12 participating teams with a total of 59 athletes, of which the host has four teams and 20 riders. The remaining participating countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

That is the first Vietnamese athlete to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics after defeating Jutatip at the 2023 Asian Championship. She currently an athlete of Roland Club (Switzerland), where she regularly competes in Europe. After the Tour of Thailand, That will continue her preparation for the Paris Olympics in July.

go to top