Hero MTB Himalaya: Andreas Seewald holds slim lead after three days

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NEW DELHI: The 12th edition of Asia’s oldest and the third toughest mountain biking (MTB) race, the Hero MTB Himalaya, has seen intense competition across some of the toughest off-road terrain in the world.

At the end of day three of the this premier cross-country endurance event, 24-year-old German mechanic Andreas Seewald was the fastest rider with a time of 4:17:01 just ahead of former Canadian world champion Cory Wallace who clocked 4:18:02. Of the 60 adrenalin-junkie cyclists participating in the Hero MTB Himalaya, 48 were able to make it to the finish point of Stage 3.

Wallace, who won the King of Himalaya title 2014 and who is back after missing last year’s edition to claim the yellow jersey, finished the day one stage – a distance of 67.5kms, at an approximate elevation of 1680m – in 2 hours, 47 minutes. Former Queen of the Himalayas Catherine Williamson finished with a timing of 3hrs, 22 minutes at ninth place in the overall category followed by Hero Action Team’s Shiven.

On day two, Wallace continued to lead the overall category with a time of 2:47:40 but a flat tire cost him time and he finished the day at fourth spot with a time of 4:19:31. Jason English came in second with a time of 4:17:13 just ahead of Thomas Turner who finished the 89km competitive distance of Stage 2 in a time of 04:19:29.

Williamson continued her domination and finished at ninth spot with a time of 5:07:40 followed by Ilda Pereira at 11th in a time of 5:16:42.

Stage 3 – also known as the Conquest of Garh and the Queen’s Stage – proved equally grueling for the riders as they crossed the highest point of the race, Jalori Pass, on a day that traversed a distance of 76.5kms and a maximum elevation of 3100m.

Seewald continued with his lead in the open men solo category but faced stiff competition from Wallace, who ended the day with a minute’s lead. Wallace moved up to second place on day three, ahead of English at third. Andreas Hartmann and Manuel Weissenbacher were placed fourth and sixth respectively, maintaining their lead in the team of two category.

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Williamson finished the race at ninth, this staying on top in her category. Devender Thakur was the only Indian who was able to get a place in the top 10 by the end of day three, followed by Shiven at 11th.

 The 12th edition of the Hero MTB Himalaya started in Shimla on Saturday and traverses a course spanning 650 kms across eight days at an elevation of 16,000m, ending in the hill station of Dharamsala against the stunning backdrop of the Dhauladar mountain range of Himachal Pradesh. Riders will traverse four districts of Himachal and cross the rivers Beas and Satluj and touch the boundaries of the Great Himalayan National Park, one of the largest in India.
 The route terrain of this year’s edition of the Hero MTB Himalaya is mostly single tracks with a few stretches of motorable jeep tracks, rocky tracks, loose gravel and small segments of broken tarmac.

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