ESPN to air Himachal Biking Challenge

MUMBAI: Hercules MTB Himachal 2006, the second edition of India's first Mountain Cycling ride and race is scheduled to take place in Himachal Pradesh from 4-13 October 2006.

The event is being marketed and promoted worldwide by IMG/TWI. IMG/TWI will produce and broadcast this event on Trans World Sport reaching 260 million households over 131 countries worldwide. IMG/TWI will also broadcast this event via SNTV that delivers sports news 365 days of the year to 850 million people. In India, the event will air on ESPN.

Being tagged as one of the most adventurous sporting event of the country in its first year, the second edition of the challenging ride promises to be bigger, better and more exciting. With over 160 international and Indian riders competing for the championship, the race will be test of physical endurance and mental determination.

In this second edition, the riders will be pedaling the distance of over 600 kilometers in the wilderness trails of Himalayas. The riders will be challenged to make their way through single track, double track, and broken tarmac and sometimes-just footpaths. The entire terrain of over 600 kilometers will see long down hills and grueling up hills.

As cyclists will pass through straight stretches, there are sections of hike and bike, and there are fast paced gravel roads. Hercules MTB Himachal 2006 promises to offer little bit of everything for riders of all initiations (Mountain Bikers, Road Riders etc), and just not dirt roads and single tracks.

Hercules, which manufactures mountain terrain bikes in the country, is sponsoring the event. Conceputlised in 2005, Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (Hastpa) are the orgnisers of Hercules MTB Himachal. Hastpa is an organisation working towards sustainable tourism development in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Hastpa is organising the race under the aegis of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the event is supported by the Department of Tourism, Government of Himachal Pradesh.

The event is being organised as a wilderness mountain bike race, where participants sleep in tent villages that are set up prior to their arrival and broken down immediately after the start each morning. Enthusiasts will be faced to endure the climate and physical challenges of the Himachal Himalayas. All legs begin at 8:00 am and riders are expected to reach the finish line by 6:00 pm daily. Stages include breakfast, a pre-designated lunch area, beverages along the route, dinner and an awards ceremony each night where the winners are awarded Leader Jerseys.

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