Malnad race for cycling enthusiasts

Cycling enthusiasts in the city will have a new event to look forward to when the fifth edition of the SBI-Great Malnad Challenge (GMC) gets underway next month.

The challenge, which is due to start on October 11, was launched by former Indian athlete Reeth Abraham among other dignitaries here on Friday. 

A 650-km long journey will see five teams compete to win the competition, which will take them through the top peaks in the state like Mullayanagiri, Bababudangiri and Kundadri. “We are glad to see so many cycling races enter the shores of India. We can assure that it will be a difficult yet a delightful challenge for the cyclists as they traverse over natural terrain with striking view and good weather,” said Pravin Patil, MD and CEO Gaint Starkenn, who partner the event.

Cycling in the garden city has undergone a sea change over the past few years, and the 1997 Arjuna Awardee, Reeth, too echoed a similar view. 

“Cycling enthusiasts have increased over the past few years. Gone are the days when even the national level cyclists had to rely on a mediocre cycle to compete in an international event. With the availability of good cycles, many in the city have taken up cycling as a medium of transport too. And this is a welcome change,” the former heptathlon international opined.

Talking about the GMC, Ashwini Mehra, Deputy MD, SBI said, “With this initiative, we aim at making cycling a part of the sporting culture in the country and thereby encouraging youngsters to take up cycling not just as a leisure activity, but as a profession as well.”The six-day event, which will kick-start from Madikeri, will pass through the western ghats covering towns like Kemmangundi and Kudermukha before concluding in Marwanthe, a seaside town near Udupi on October 17.

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