India’s most popular mountain biking race back in Himalayas

New Delhi: A total of 105 riders, including veterans and amateurs from across India, representing 17 cities and the Armed Forces are set to compete with each other at the 5th edition of Hero MTB Shimla, one of India’s most popular mountain bike races that flags off on April 15th.

Hero Cycles and Himalayan Adventure Sports & Tourism Promotion (HASTPA) today unveiled the 2-day cross country marathon type MTB race which covers a whopping 120 km and a total elevation gain of 3,500m.

The race takes the riders through some of the most pristine parts of the Shivalik Mountains, also known as the lesser Himalayas, as they travel around 120 kilometers in 2 days. There are a total of 9 teams that will enter the City Championship. For a city to qualify for the championship a minimum of 3 riders must be representing that city.

“Mountain biking as a sport is gaining rapid popularity in India and events such as Hero MTB Shimla have played a vital role in popularizing this sport. It is one of the toughest sports in terms of the need for endurance and skill, and requires a lot of mental and physical strength as well as training. Hero Cycles’ association with mountain biking sport is not limited to events such as MTB Shimla or MTB Himalayas”, said Mr. Pankaj Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director, Hero Cycles Pvt Ltd.

The event will be flagged off by Brigadier S K Lama, Brigadier General Staff, HQ Army Training Command. For the first time in the event it won’t just be riders that will be competing with each other but also cities. HASTPA has introduced the “Champion City” format for the first time. Riders will be representing their cities and will be collectively competing on behalf of their respective cities. No MTB competition has observed this kind of concept before, making MTB Shimla 2016 a really unique venture in itself.

This year’s participants include bike racing veterans such as Devender Thakur, the 2nd runner up of the MTB National Championship, member of Hero Action Team and winner of the last 2 editions of Hero MTB Shimla; Shiven Sharma, the current under- 19 national champion and member of the Hero Action Team.

Among the international names at the race are Johan Bentick, a Dutch riding veteran who is participating for the 5th time in the Hero MTB Himalaya Races; Sarah Appelt from Germany who will be representing Manali/Kullu in this year’s race.

Among the participating teams in the Hero MTB Shimla 2016 are the BSF team, the SSB Team, the Indian Navy Team and independent groups from various cities like Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Gurgaon, and Mumbai, among others. Hero Action team, India’s first ever professional mountain biking team, is also participating in full strength. (ANI)