The first stage of the national cycling competition from Hanoi to the northwestern city of Dien Bien kicked off at the capital’s Hoan Kiem Lake on May 1.

Twenty-two teams from home and abroad are participating in the six-day event, which forms part of the activities to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Dien Bien Phu victory over the French.

The cyclists will ride from Hanoi to the northwestern cities of Hoa Binh and Son La before arriving in Dien Bien.

The People’s Army newspaper, the organiser of the contest, will give nearly 800 gifts to war veterans who fought on the Dien Bien Phu battlefield and 120 scholarships for children of Dien Bien soldiers.

It will work with the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to hold a special art programme celebrating the victory and inspiring national pride.-VNA