Atul of MIRC Patiala, an academy that breeds quality cyclists for the Indian team for international events, cranked up speed midway through the race before beating back the challenge of Amit Kumar of Indian Air Force and Omkar Jadhav of Mumbai by a mere half-wheel length.
In a three-way battle for the honours after the top cyclists crossed Karla caves just after Lonavala, it was Omkar and Atul who first made the charge. Amit was running close behind, but a kilometre after the Indian Air Force cyclist closed in to make the contest even more interesting.
It was the first major win in recent times for Atul, a member of the Indian contingent at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games where he finished 15th in 30-km Points Race on a velodrome track.
Atul beat back the challenge from Amit Kumar and Harpreet Singh of Central Railway who were part of the national squad that took part in the 32nd Asian Cycling Championship in February 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for which he was not picked by the selectors.