GILGIT: The first stage of ‘Tour de Khunjerab 2019’ cycle race concluded on Thursday as 138 contestants paddled 67 kilometres from Gilgit to the Rakaposhi base camp.
The cyclists are expected to arrive on Sunday at the highest placed international border between Pakistan and China at an altitude of 16,000 feet, covering a distance of 27 kilometres in four stages.
The first stage is from Gilgit city to Rakaposhi base camp of Nagar district. The second stage is from Rakaposhi base camp to Karimabad in Hunza, third at Sust and the race ends at Khunjerab pass.
The cycle race starts at 4,800 hundred feet above sea level and ends at 1,600 feet.
The inaugural ceremony of the event was held on Thursday at Gilgit city park.
GB Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman, Chief Secretary Khuram Shahzad Agha, GB Assembly Deputy Speaker Jaffarullah Khan, Tourism Minister Fida Khan and Law Minister Aurangzeb and other officials attended the event.
Speaking on the occasion, the GB chief minister said that the Tour de Khunjerab cycle race had become an international event. The GB government, he said, would promote tourism and sport activities through such events.
He said that after completion of the Skardu-Gilgit road project, another cycle race would be organised from Gilgit to Skardu every year to attract more tourists to GB.
The 138 cyclists from 13 foreign and national teams participated in the competition. The national teams include Pakistan Army, Wapda, Pakistan Navy, POF Wah, and SSGC Islamabad. Cyclists from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran and Switzerland are also participating in the race.
Team Wapda was declared winner of the first stage of the event.
Nagar Deputy Commissioner Hussain Raza Chaudhry announced the results of the first stage of the race.
He told reporters that winner Najeebullah from Wapda arrived Rakaposhi base camp Nagar district via Karakoram Highway crossings, covering 77km distance of the first stage of the race from Gilgit city, within two hours, one minute and 34 seconds.
Abdullah Khan from Pakistan Army stood second and crossed the distance in two hours, one minute and 33 seconds. Viran Ramesh from Sri Lanka crossed the distance in two hours, two minutes and 34 seconds and finished third.
The second stage of the race will start on Friday morning from Rakaposhi base camp to Karimabad.
Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2019