Islamabad: More than a hundred cyclists are participating in Pakistan’s first international cycling race, the ‘Tour de Khunjerab’, pedalling past scenic mountains and earning the applause of the locals of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The three-day cycle race ‘Tour de Khunjerab 2018’ began on Karakoram Highway from Gilgit city on Friday.
The race will end at Khunjerab Pass Sunday.
height of point at which the cycling race started
The pass, which lies between Pakistan and China at an altitude of 15,400 feet, is the world’s highest paved international border famously referred to as the ‘Roof of the World’.
As many as 107 cyclists in 12 teams are participating in the event organised by the Pakistan Cycling Federation in collaboration with Government of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Talking to Gulf News, Gilgit Division Commissioner Usman Ahmad said: “This is Pakistan’s first international cycling event in which more than 100 cyclists, including teams from other countries such as Afghanistan and Switzerland, are participating. The event started [at] 4,500 feet above sea level in Gilgit city and [will end] at a height of 15,400 feet above sea level.”
Pakistan Cycling Federation vice-president Mohammad Haroon claimed that “this is the world’s first cycling race being held at [a] record high altitude [of] 16,000 feet above sea level.”
Expressing gratitude for the Gilgit-Baltistan government who made all the arrangements for the successful cycling event, Haroon told Gulf News that “decent medical staff and facilities such as ambulances are available in case of emergencies.”
Strict security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of the cyclists, while traffic will also be suspended at Karakoram Highway when cyclists are expected to pass through the area.
The cyclists will cover a distance of nearly 250km.
In the first leg of the race, they covered nearly 73km starting from Gilgit and ending at Rakaposhi viewpoint in Nagar district.
The second 74km stage started at the Rakaposhi View point and culminated at Passu.
distance to be covered by the cyclists
On the third day, cyclists will pedal 84km from Sost to Khunjerab Pass.
The closing ceremony is set for Karimabad Hunza today where the winners will get certificates and prizes.
Abdul Razzaq from Team Balochistan paddled past his fellow cyclists, winning the first stage of the Tour de Khunjerab, before taking victory once more on second day.
The cyclists were warmly welcomed by locals and some even joined them including a group of 28 young girls from the region who completed 8km ride with the professional cyclists.