Spanish cyclist Adria Noguera Soldevila emerged top to lift the title at the 13th edition of world’s toughest mountain biking race Hero MTB Himalaya which saw participation from 92 riders from over 20 countries. David Kumar from India finished in the top 10 beating close competitor Isaac Rai who was participating from Shashastar Seema Bal team.
The Hero MTB Himalaya race began in Shimla on 29th September and cyclists had to go through eight stages covering 650 kms and touching 10,000 ft mountain passes before culminating in the land of His Holiness Dalami Lama-Dharamshala.
Adria Noguera Soldevila clocked 27:41:12, beating Thomas Engelsgjerd of Norway who emerged runners-up. Thomas Engelsgjerd clocked 27:58:29.
“I am happy to see participation from so many countries. I congratulate the winners and hope they will come back next year and participate again. The participation from Indian defense forces and para-military forces was also encouraging,” said Lt Gen SK Saini, YSM, VSM Corps Commander, HQ9 Corps, while speaking as the chief guest of the event.
Only 61 bikers could complete the arduous race which covered four districts of picturesque Himachal Pradesh. 92 bikers had participated in the event.
“The nine days of the biking event were as much exhilarating as pulsating which ended being a very close contest. Every participant displayed true sportsmanship spirit. This year we saw participation from 92 cyclists, the highest ever which speaks volume about the growing stature and popularity of this world’s toughest biking event. My best wishes to the winners,” said Mr Pankaj Munjal, Chairman & Managing Director, Hero Cycles.
Top three Indian riders were David Kumar, Isaac Rai and Suresh Rana. There were teams from India Air Force, Rocky Mountain, Kona Bikes and some of the other defense and para-military forces. About 60-90 kms were covered everyday by the cyclists in the eight stages spread over the nine-day event, the fourth day being rest day. This year, the old British route and forest paths. The cyclists had to cross the ferocious rivers-Beas and Sutlej in these eight stages. It was a scenic route with the Himalayan beauty at its best and included previously unseen stretches this year.