Srinagar Hosts International Cycling Race

Chief minister Omar Abdullah flagging off first international cycling race in Srinagar. Photo: Bilal Bahadur

SHAH ABBAS

Srinagar

A few kilometers away from the curfew bound area of old city more than 100 cyclists of international repute took part in the second leg of ‘Tour De India’ cycling race on Sinagar’s foreshore road, on Tuesday. Authorities had made impressive arrangements to host the mega-event that will send a strong single to the rest of the world that Kashmir is back to the game.

The Kashmir leg of the race had a total distance of 168 kms, from Royal Spring Golf Course to Kashmir University and vise versa.

The race was held on the banks of world famous Dal Lake and was telecasted live. Twenty international media channels had already reached Srinagar to cover the event, the organizers said.

The race started from Royal Springs Golf Course – one of world’s best 10 golf courses, to the Kashmir University via Foreshore Road and back to Hotel Lalit Grand Palace.

The race was held on the banks of world famous Dal Lake. Photo: Bilal Bahadur

The first leg of the race was held in Mumbai while the third and final leg will be held on December 9 at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. Reputed teams like Astana and Lotto participated in the event.

Godrej Eon Tour de India 2012, the biggest cycling race in India organized by ID Sports was behind the maiden professional race in Srinagar.

The event witnessed more than 100 international cyclists inclusive of teams like Team Rabobank, team Lotto and Team Astana along with some local cyclests.

“Air India had agreed happily to fly the international cyclists to the most exotic location of the country to be a part of the cycling event Tour de India. The event was a good opportunity to showcase the country’s scenic beauty”. Capt Kapil Raina Sr Commander & Training Captain, Nodal Crew Mgmt System, Air India, said.

Organizers said that the event had become possible only after three years of efforts by Capt Kapil Raina and his colleagues who met the state authorities a number of times and finally got a nod.

“We are excited to be in Srinagar and conduct the first ever professional cycling race here as our endeavor to make cycling, a national sport,” said Dr Akil Khan, CMD, ID Sports.

The host state government is excited. “We are delighted to host Tour de India the cycling event in Kashmir,” state’s Youth Services & Sports Minister R S Chib said. “We have very talented cyclists over here and we believe with Tour de India the enthusiasts will consider making this sport as their profession”.

Reputed teams like Astana and Lotto participated in the event. Photo: Bilal Bahadur

Tour de India 2012 is a multiple-city cycling race promoted by ID Sports. ID Sports calims to be India’s only company to bring International Cycling to India and lay the foundation of professional cycling races in India since 2010. Promotion of cycling as a sport and simultaneously State Tourism has always been one of the defining factors of various Cyclothons,Tour de Mumbai and Tour de Delhi organized by ID Sports.

The international event, however, had its own problems for the host population. For obvious reasons, the track was closed for routine traffic. The ambulance and the allied requiremnets for the race had to be deployed in advance. The road was closed earlier and there were countless people who were seen footing the distance to reach their destinations. These included officials as well. The trek lacks any alternative to connect with the main city.

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