Shimla, Oct 3 (IANS) Spanish cyclist Adria Noguera on Thursday won the 15th edition of Hero MTB Himalaya, the second time in three years, race organisers said. British rider Catherine Williamson clocked her fifth win, while Shimla biker Ashish Sherpa won the Asian category.
The 15th edition of Hero MTB Himalaya was flagged off from Shimla on September 26 and travelled a distance of 500 km through off-road routes in seven days. The prize distribution ceremony for the race was held at Bir, a world famous paragliding site in Kangra district.
Noguera won the race and was crowned the ‘King of Himalaya’. The Spanish was the winner in 2017 and clocked his second win at the race, Mohit Sood, President of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), the local club that organises the MTB (mountain bike) Himalaya rally every year, told IANS.
Noguera finished the race with a time of 22:42:16. Catherine Williamson was crowned the ‘Queen of Himalayas’ with her fifth consecutive victory at the race. She hails from Britain and has won the race every single time she has participated.
“I came two years ago, and the level of the race now has surely stepped up,” Noguera said.
“It’s overwhelming to see such tough competition from all over the world, and witness the great Indian hospitality I’ll be taking a whole lot of memories back to Spain!,” he added.
Ashish Sherpa from Shimla won the Asian category with a time of 26:10:11. The 18-year-old was riding neck and neck with world champions from Croatia, France and Belgium.
Santi Val won the Masters Solo category, while Cory Wallace and Jason English won the Team of Two category.
Cory was the ‘King of Himalayas’ in 2014 and is a 3x24h World Champion.
The final stage — Into the Wild, a 58-km stage starting from Barot, on Wednesday passed through Rajgundha and finally concluded at Bir.
Only 49 riders were able to make it to the end of the gruelling race, suggesting the race is one of the toughest in the world.
The second position in the overall category was won by German Andi Seewald who finished with a time of 28:36:44. Seewald had won the race in 2016.