19 October 2019

Briton tops injury-hit cycling marathon

A 19-year-old British cyclist won an injury-plagued third Hong Kong cyclothon on Sunday.

Robert Scott topped the 50-meter race of the annual cycling marathon which saw a record 4,900 participants, Apple Daily reports.

Tam Chi-wah, 51, was the first Hongkonger to cross the finish line over the distance.

The 30 km. section was won by Tam Ho-chu, 19, who finished second runner-up last year.

At least three cyslists suffered serious injuries to their collar bones and were hospitalized while 17 had minor injuries, mostly scratches, according to the Tourism Board

Tourism Board executive Mason Hung Chung-hing said 4 percent of the participants did not complete the 50 km. race and 7 percent did not finish the 30 km. section. 

The event began in Tsim Sta Tsui and mostly followed last year’s route except when the riders had to tackle Tsing Ma Bridge after passing through Cheung Tsing Tunnel.

Many participants complained about debris on the road near Tin Kau Bridge, which caused some cyclists to lose balance and fall.

Also, there were a number of dangerous U-turns.

Some volunteers were unfamiliar with the route map and could not help point some cyclists in the right direction, causing delays, according to Apple Daily.

A contestant, surnamed Fai, said he suffered an accident while trying to avoid small rocks on Ting Kau Bridge. 

Fai was doing 30-40 km per hour when he lost control of his bike and crashed into a cyclist in front of him. He suffered a broken collar bone.

Assistant Professor Lobo Louie Hung-tak from the Hong Kong Baptist University was at the race and said arrangements had improved compared with last year.

However, he said organizers should spend more time training voluntreers to help improve the situation.

“Some volunteers really have no idea what their roles are in a cycling event,” he said. “They need to increase the level of training for these volunteers and improve their troubleshooting skills to avoid accidents.”

As to the complaints about difficult U-turns, Louie said it is a matter of skill and organizers could consider running tests before the routes are finalized.

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