Top Vietnam cyclist headed for Italy’s premier race

By Dong Huyen   June 30, 2023 | 09:00 am PT
Vietnam’s number one cyclist Nguyen Thi That will compete at the 2023 Giro d'Italia that started on Friday.

The Giro d'Italia is one of the three most prestigious women's cycling races in the world along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.

That will compete in the Israel-Premier Tech Roland jersey with six teammates - one Canadian, one Australian, one Austrian and three Italians.

Switzerland’s Israel-Premier Tech Roland are one of the top 15 strongest women's racing teams in the world.

Nguyen Thi That (first to the right) and members of Israel-Premier Tech Roland for the 2023 Giro dItalia. Photo by Israel-Premier Tech Roland

Nguyen Thi That (R) and other members of Israel-Premier Tech Roland for the 2023 Giro d'Italia. Photo by Israel-Premier Tech Roland

The 2023 Giro d'Italia for women takes place from June 30 to July 9, with nine stages and a total length of 928 km. Twenty-four teams will race, bringing together 168 of the world's top female cyclists.

They will peddle through five regions in Italy: including Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Liguria and Sardinia.

The hilly, mountainous terrain is expected to be a challenge for That because her strength is sprinting. The fifth stage is the toughest: a continuous steep pass to the race’s highest peak, Passo del Lupo.

Tran Hai Trieu, general secretary of That’s management agency (An Giang Sports Bicycle & Motorcycle Federation), has said That has qualified for the Olympics and will thus be given all the best conditions to train and compete at the highest level, instead of just racing in domestic tournaments.

"We are ready to let That skip the National Open Women's Cycling Championships on July 7 in Dong Thap Province. We do this for the achievement of Vietnamese cycling at the next Olympics," Trieu told VnExpress on Friday.

Nguyen Thi That (number 76) in Israel-Premier Tech Rolands jersey. Photo by Israel-Premier Tech Roland

Nguyen Thi That (number 76) in Israel-Premier Tech Roland's jersey. Photo by Israel-Premier Tech Roland

That began the tournament with a 4 km timed race. On Saturday she will enter the second stage from Bagno a Ripoli to Marradi, a distance of 102.2 km.

That, 30, started competing at the top Vietnamese levels in 2010. She then won a bronze at the 2013 SEA Games, her first major international tournament. Since 2014, she has won the Asian Games silver medal in South Korea, then five consecutive SEA Games gold medals from 2015 to 2023. Her peak was winning the Asian title in 2018, 2022 and 2023.

Recently, That won the gold medal at the Asian Cycling Championship in Thailand and became the first Vietnamese athlete to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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