Shimla: The 12th edition of Hero MTB Himalaya, considered one of toughest among biking races in the world, will see 67 riders from 14 countries who will start from here on September 24 to pass through a new but tough route, organisers said on Friday.
The annual cross-country and multi-stage mountain biking race will conclude on October 3 in Dharamsala, the abode of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, after traversing 650 km, Mohit Sood, President of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), the local rally organising club, told reporters here.
"This year the race is going to be more challenging to the riders in terms of terrain and competition. We have made significant upgradation to race infrastructure and rescue," he said.
He said the route terrain is mostly single tracks, a few stretches of motorable jeep tracks, rocky tracks, loose gravel and small segments of broken tarmac.
There will be an equal amount of uphill and downhill segments in the race. Looped circuits of approximately 60-70 km each day of the race will be covered by the riders, Sood said.
The race will be touching the boundaries of Unesco's world heritage site Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu district.
Bir-Billing, known to be the world's second highest point for paragliding, will also feature along the race route.
Two years after the launch of Hero Action team by HASTPA and Hero Cycles, the team will have three new faces this year. They are Sarah Appelt, Akash Sherpa and Akshit Gaur.
Andreas Seewald, 24, of Germany is among the internationally-acclaimed riders participating in the race.
Ranked 16th at the Bike Marathon World Championship of 2015, Seewald gave Luis Pinto tough competition by leading the champion in the 11th Hero MTB Himalaya short of the final stretch.