Manali hosts Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal 2008

Himachal PradeshManali, Oct. 8 : The tourist resort of Manali recently played host to the concluding part of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA) sponsored Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal 2008.

The 10-day event, saw the participation of cyclists from 13 countries.

"The objective was to promote tourism, in Himachal Pradesh. This was a very big initiative to promote tourism in this area," said Mohit Sood, Director, Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association.

The main objective of event was to promote adventure sports and tourism in Himachal Pradesh.

The Tour-de-Himalayas was flagged off from Shimla on September 27 and ended on October 6 in Manali.

The participants pedalled through Shimla, Gumma, Roharu, Narkanda, Saharahan, Jalori Jot, Gada Gushani, Janjhahali, Pandoh , Bashing and Bijli Mahadev before touching the finishing line at Manali.

There were 74 participants, including 28 cycling enthusiasts from USA, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and Nepal among others.

The participants enjoyed every moment of the competition and said that it was a thrilling.

"I got to know about the Himachal bike race from a race organiser in Australia and it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to come and visit India, which I had not been to before. The weather is fantastic and it has been fantastic 10 days of riding on very high mountains. It was very hard racing but it has been fantastic race. The Indians have been very hospitable and very nice. The food has been very good," said Andy Kervell, a participant from Scotland.

Padam of Fire Fox team from Nepal won the Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal 2008 by defeating former champion Ramesh Chandra Joshi of India Army on completion of 19 stages of the rally.

"The riders were very good. They are very good professionals. I am so happy to have been a part of this race," said Padam from Nepal, winner of Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal 2008.

For the decisive stage of the laps, Padam clocked 13 hours, 19 minutes and 30 seconds while Ramesh Chandra Joshi completed it in 13 hours, 35 minutes and 30 seconds followed by John Noble of USA, who took 13 hours, 43 minutes and 13 seconds.

Padam received a memento and a prize amount of rupees one lakh.

MLA Govind Thakur gave away the prizes at Manali.(ANI)