4th Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal to kick off on Sep 27

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New Delhi, Sep 23 (UNI) The wait is over for adventure sports enthusiasts, as Hercules in partnership with HASTPA today unveiled the fourth edition of India's premier mountain biking race- Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal (HMBH) 2008, starting September 27 from Shimla.

The nine-day adventure sport event, which is also first of its kind, will cover a distance of 680 km, gaining an elevation of over 14,000m passing through undulating hills and uphill stretches, before finally finishing at Manali on October 6.

Speaking to mediapersons, Himachal Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA) President Mohit Suri said, ''We are glad to start the adventure sport on World Tourism Day. The event will be flagged-off by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.'' ''Mountain Biking Himachal is a wonderful opportunity for the adventure sports fan across India. We look forward to promote the cycling trails across Himachal Pradesh.'' ''Cycling is a niche sport here in India; so we want to popularise the sport among the Indian masses,'' he stated.

''This is the fourth year we are partnering with Hercules. And I am very happy to see the way the sport is growing, and hope that mountain biking become a popular sport in the near future in India,'' Sood asserted.

On the number of participants, he said, ''In comparisonto 43 participants last year, the sport is definitely growing as 12 countries like South africa, Germany, Dubai, Pakistan, UK, US will compete raising the number of participants to 85 this year.

The women participation has also raised to 12, of whom two are from India.'' However, lamenting the September 13 bomb blasts here in the capital, Suri told UNI, ''Earlier the number of foreign participants were 33, but after the bomb blast, six of them have withdrawn their names reducing the number to 26.'' The HASTPA President further said it has plans to bring cycling to the highest terrain at an altitude of 6000 m. ''We also has plans to partner with the Governmnet-run home-stay schemes, already on process in the rural areas.'' Adding words at the event, D Raghuram, Senior VP, Bicycles&Fitness, TI Cycles of India, manufacturers of Hercules bicycles, said, ''We want to excite the urban adult, to use more frequently bicycles.'' ''We want to brig back Cycling into our way of life.'' The strong line up in the race will battle it out this year for the total prize money on Rs 6 lakh, which will be distributed equally among the winners in various categories: Men's, Women's, Masters and Team.

While Hercules is the title sponser of the event, the other sponsors are Hmachal Pradesh Tourism, CNN IBN, Power Horse energy drink.

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