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9 world champions among 100 to pedal in Hero MTB Himalaya

Shimla, Sep 24 (IANS) The 15th edition of Hero MTB Himalaya will start on September 26 from the Himachal Pradesh capital that will see the participation of 100 cyclists, comprising nine international champions, the organisers said on Tuesday.

The expedition will conclude at the famed paragliding site Bir in Kangra district on October 3 after covering 500 km in seven days.

The annual mountain biking extravaganza will take the riders through the most remote areas, where they will experience Indian culture and extreme adventure.

The race, which will see participation from 17 countries, is being organised jointly by the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), Himachal Tourism and Hero Cycles in association with the state Youth Services and Sports Department.

The race this time will feature one of the most competitive rider lineups, organisers said.

Spanish national champion Adria Nougera, 27, who the ‘King of Himalaya 2017’ title; three-time World 24hr Champion Cory Wallace (King of Himalaya 2014); Croatian national champion Milo Pilski; and seven-time World 24hr Champion Jason English from Australia, are among the top ranking bikers who will take part.

The foreign riders are from 17 countries, including the US, Canada, Croatia, Britain, Spain, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, Poland, Belgium and France.

“We are extremely delighted to reach this landmark of 15 editions. Our ultimate aim is to produce an Olympian from India. We are sure this experience will go a long way in achieving that,” Mohit Sood, founding president HASTPA, which organises the Hero MTB Himalaya rally, told IANS.

This event will promote and encourage bicycling as a sporting challenge while showcasing modern technical enhancements that have increased handling and riding experiences, Hero Cycles Ltd Chairman Pankaj M. Munjal said in a statement.

One of the race stages will include camping in Paneo in Kullu district at a British colonial-era rest house frequented by erstwhile Viceroys.

There will also be a new campsite in Jhatingiri in Mandi district. The race has a new finish point in the famous paragliding facility Bir-Billing in the Kangra hills.

The organisers said the race route is mostly single track, few stretches of motorable jeep tracks, rocky tracks, loose gravel and very small segments of broken tarmac.

There will be an equal amount of uphill and downhill segments in the race. A never-before-seen stretch from Shatadhar to Pandoh will feature in this year’s race.

The race route is shorter this year with seven stages across 506 km, without compromising on the trails and difficulty levels.




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