Tour De Khunjerab, Pakistan’s first international cycling event that offers the participants to paddle their way to victory at an altitude of 5000, finished off yesterday after its challenging four stages. The winners and the runners up, all agreed that the tour is the toughest in the world, thanks to its location being the highest in the world.
This time, in its second consecutive installment, as many as 88 local and international cyclists participated in Tour De Khunjerab. While there were two teams each from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan each, solo participants from Switzerland and Spain also partook in the race.
Starting from the pavement of highest mountain range of Pakistan and second in the world, Karakoram, the cycling event begins 1500 meters above sea level and then continues to climb up till the cyclists paddle their way through the terrain of Karakoram Highway and reach Khunjerab Pass.
The four stages of the event with three being 68 to 94 kilometers (42 to 58 miles) – shorter than many cycling events – were completed by only half of the participants in the assigned time duration. Many found it difficult to catch breath in the last stage and had to fight altitude against their paddle.
The last stage of the event starts from 2800 meters above sea level, and this time around the cyclists also had snowflakes with fierce winds mounting their challenges. Naqeeb Ullah, a Pakistani local from Balochistan, managed to complete three out of four stages and stood out victorious.
“I had to face a lot of difficulties while reaching the finishing line,” the winner too exclaimed.
Despite its challenges, Tour de Khunjerab – a tribute to the French mega event – has managed to garner attention on the back of its novelty and challenging nature. It is “an attraction for the most daring and adventurous cyclists in the world,” says the management of Tour De Khunjerab, the world’s toughest and highest cycling event.