Over six dozen cyclists to participate in MTB Hercules race

Shimla: About six dozen cyclists including eleven foreigners would participate in sixth edition of the eight-day mountain biking race `MTB Hercules` to be flagged off from historic ridge Grounds here on Friday.

The participants would vie for prize worth Rs 6 lakh in four categories - Men Solo, Women Solo and Open masters (above 40 years of age) and teams of two.

Unlike the previous editions, which culminated at Manali, the rally will return to Shimla after covering 540km over eight days to conclude on October 30.

The competitive stretches will cover 320km and in all the bikers will achieve a big ascent with the Jalori pass as the highest point.

Introduced in 2005, the MTB has been gaining popularity with each year and this year the maximum number of 64 Indian bikers will participate in the event.

Besides, 11 foreigners will be taking part in the rally which would be dedicated to theme of environment conservation.

The event will now be eligible for recognition by the United Cyclae Internationale (UCI).

The association has already taken up the matter with the Indian Cycling Federation to recommend its case for UCI recognition, Mohit Sood, President of Himachal Adventure Tourism and Tourism Promotion Activities (HASTPA), said.

After taking off from Shimla, the participants will pass through narrow forest pathways in the tough mountain ranges of Shimla, Mandi and Kullu districts.

The fourth day will be the longest and most arduous when the bikers will have to cover 90km distance from Kullu Sarahan to Bahu.