Lending vibrancy to a 38-km stretch along the Western Ghats, the 6th edition of MTB (Mountain Bike) Kerala will see cyclists from across the country and abroad test their racing skills along the unpaved pathways of India’s first such competitive event listed under the world body governing the sport.
MTB 2019, which features 21 professional cyclists from 12 countries including India in the international category slated for Sunday, will start off this Thursday with ‘Fun and Thrill’ races for men and women separately.
Port Minister Kadannappalli Ramachandran will formally inaugurate the event on Sunday, which coincides with the MTB’s national-level races.
The three-day event, being organised by the Department of Tourism in association with Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), District Tourism Promotion Council-Wayanad and the Cycling Federation of India (CFI), is the country’s pioneering mountain bike race to feature in the calendar of the Switzerland-based UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), the apex organisation for cycling bodies the world over, the organisers said.
MTB’s races under the international and national categories will be held on a circular pathway spanning 4.8 km around the Priyadarshini Tea Environs. The red-earth track, punctuated with boulders and mud, is 3,000 feet above the sea level.
The national-level races will have 60 men and 20 women vying in separate categories of the MTB that strictly follows the guidelines of the UCI and the CFI, says KATPS Chief Executive Officer Manesh Bhaskar.
As for the international races, the cyclists are from Armenia, Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Uzbekistan besides India.
The top winner of this segment will get a purse of ₹1.5 lakh, while those finishing second, third, fourth and fifth will get ₹1 lakh, ₹50,000, ₹25,000, and ₹20,000, respectively.
The ‘Fun and Thrill’ segment for men and women will have cyclists who have registered in advance. These races, with an eastward trajectory from Priyadarshini Estate to the Kuruva Island before returning to the starting point, will span 38 km in total. While it is the trial for ‘Fun and Thrill’ on Thursday, the final of this amateur category will be held the next day. The first three winners of both categories of this event will qualify for the MTB national category races on Sunday.
The winners of the national-level cross-country race (men) will be given ₹1 lakh, ₹50,000, ₹25,000, ₹20,000, and ₹15,000. The women’s section winners will get ₹50,000, ₹25,000, ₹20,000, and ₹15,000.
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