The Great Mekong Bike Ride 2019, scheduled from June 28 to 30, is ready to welcome more than 2,000 Thai and foreign road race cyclists and elevate the awareness of Thailand’s Northeast (Isan) provinces of Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Sakon Nakhon, as popular tourism destinations for sports.
This year marks the fourth edition of The Great Mekong Bike Ride, an event which takes participants during three days along the roads of the three provinces of Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon and Mukdahan. The cycling event is organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in cooperation with Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon and Mukdahan provinces, the Thai Cycling Association and Tri-League.
The race covers a total distance of nearly 400 km in three days.
Stage 1: King of Speed is on 28 June over a distance of 100 km from Nakhon Phanom to Sakon Nakhon, with the route following a main highway.
Stage 2: King of Endurance is on 29 June over a distance of 150 km from Sakon Nakhon to Mukdahan, with the route comprising highway and some hilly roads as well as a climb.
Stage 3: King of Khong is on 30 June over a distance of 127 km from Mukdahan to Nakhon Phanom with the route following a main highway along the Mekong River.
The Great Mekong Bike Ride 2019 comprises four race categories: Open category for males and females; Age-group category for males, females and junior boys; Novice category for males and females, and Team category for groups of four members.
Registration is now closed as full participation numbers have been reached, at 2,000 cyclists. These include 400 international cyclists from 22 countries and 1,600 Thai cyclists. ” This is encouraging as we have seen a growth in international participants, particularly from neighbouring countries. In 2018, they were only 320 foreign riders. This is important to help the three provinces to gain international exposure as tourism destinations,” explained Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The event is expected to generate about 20 million Baht in tourism revenue for the local economy.
“The Great Mekong Bike Ride has earned its well-deserved place as a leading cycling event in Thailand thanks to the continued success of its last three seasons.
“The staged race format has been carefully designed to promote tourism and sport in the emerging destinations in line with the government’s policy and TAT’s marketing strategy. It showcases the rich history, culture and natural attractions that these Isan provinces can offer memorable experiences for local and international cyclists,” he added.
According to Mr. Yuthasak, improvements have been implemented to strengthen safety for participants and viewers as well as in the organisation of side activities compared to previous editions of the ride. ” Gastronomy events as well as free tours are proposed in each city as well as the possibility to meet with villagers in small communities,” he told.
The registration fee for participants includes three nights’ accommodation, an official cycling sweater, official T-shirt, medal, athlete shuttle bus throughout the race period, welcome dinner on 27 June, three breakfasts and three lunches, accident insurance during the race, race bib and official e-certification. Registration is also possible for one day.
In the spirit of promoting health and fun for all, the Great Mekong Bike Ride 2019 also features a short-distance fun ride on each of the event’s three days along flat road routes. The distance is 10 km and there are no age restrictions with participants receiving an official T-shirt, medal, race bib, pre-cycle breakfast and post-cycle lunch.
In the future, the tour could be extended also to neighbouring Laos, covering the provinces of Khammouane (Takheik) and Savannakhet. ” We already this possibility to work together with Lao PDR. They were already sports events organised between both countries such as the Mekong River Triathlon. It could be a way to further develop the appeal of the event,” added Yuthasak Supasorn.