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MANSEHRA, Sept 17: Martin Haring of Slovakia won the second leg of the Himalayas International Mountain Bike Race in Kaghan Valley on Saturday by covering the 50km distance of eight rounds round the Saiful Muluk Lake in two hours, 16 minutes and two seconds.

Mr Haring had also emerged winner of the Friday’s leg of the event of 56km track from Jalkhad to Babusar Pass, grabbing the yellow jersey.

Robert Friel of UK grabbed the second spot by clocking two hours, 22 minutes and 11 seconds.

Matt Page, also from the UK, stood third with two hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds.

In the women’s event, Mel Alexander stood first with two hours, 41 minutes and 30 seconds and Stafee Harduk of Germany, who had joined the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa side, second with his time of two hours, 48 minutes and 31 seconds.

Lone Sand of Denmark could grab the third spot with two hours, 54 minutes and 45 seconds.

A total of 42 international men and women cyclists, including 11 top Pakistani cyclists, are taking part in the event.

Meanwhile, the international cyclists taking part in the Himalayas Mountain Bike Race say they were advised by family and friends against visiting Pakistan terming it ‘a country full of dangers’, but now they have found that it was wrong media portrayal of Pakistan that such fears exist abroad.

“I was asked by my family and friends not to go Pakistan, as it’s a dangerous country for the foreigners, but now here I am feeling that they were jealous to me, as I have witnessed a paradise on the earth and rare hospitality of the people,” Martin Frano of Slovakia said while speaking to Dawn on Saturday. Similar views were expressed by other male and female cyclists while talking to media persons.

Mr Frano and his colleagues said that there was no such threat even in other parts of Pakistan. The cyclist said that he and his friends were fully enjoying cycling at an altitude of 13,800 feet amid natural scenery of the Kaghan valley.

“Media has been portraying wrong picture of Pakistan abroad and people are scared to visit or even think of visiting Pakistan in such circumstances, but the truth is contrary to this view,” said Mr Frano.