The first cycling race since the coronavirus outbreak is next week and all 18 stages will be broadcast live

The Asian country has not reported any coronavirus deaths amongst just 288 confirmed cases

Rejoice cycling fans, racing is back!

Admittedly, it’s not the Giro d’Italia, but we’ll take anything at the minute, and the HTV Cup in Vietnam sounds like it will do the job just perfectly.

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The HTV Cup, the most famous stage race in Vietnam, is run over 18 stages from May 19 to June 7, and what’s more, will be broadcast live on both Facebook and YouTube.

HTV stands for Ho Chi Minh City Television, the TV station responsible for organising the race, which was originally scheduled for April but postponed due to the coronavirus.

The degree of control Vietnam exercises over its citizens has helped combat the coronavirus, with only 288 confirmed cases and zero deaths in the country, according to official statistics.

12 teams of seven riders, making 84 in total, will take the start line, with only Vietnamese riders permitted due to the ongoing pandemic, except for two Europeans.

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Spaniard Javier Sardá Pérez is the reigning champion and rides for Thanh Phô Ho Chi Minh, while Frenchman Loïc Desriac rides for Bikelife Dong Nai, both Vietnamese teams, with Desriac emigrating to the country after marrying a Vietnamese woman when he raced professionally for Roubaix-Lille Métropole between 2011-2013.

30-year-old Desriac was also a trainee with Ag2r La Mondiale in 2009 and came fourth in Paris-Tours U23 in 2010.

The HTV Cup 2020 route (HTV Cup)

The 2020 edition is the 32nd in the race’s history and will traverse the country starting from the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south. The race is a non-UCI event yet fans can expect mountains and crit stages to keep them entertained.

A Facebook post shows the leaders’ jerseys for each classification, with the GC leader sporting a yellow jersey, with blue, polka dot and white jerseys also available for other categories.

One cycling fan commented on Reddit: “Well, I would even watch my neighbour’s two kids racing down the street at the minute, so I’m in for anything.”