Neeraj of Haryana bounced strongly while as WaheedGanai maintained his chances by finishing on the podium in the fourth stage of the Khyber 13th Tour de Kashmir cycling held from Magam to Gulmarg on Tuesday.
Neeraj finished in the fourth stage while as overall leader 16 year old cyclist Saurabh of Haryana and WaheedGanai of Kashmir finished second and third respectively.
The fourth stage was relatively easier then the grueling third stage of the Dodapathri and till the last three kilometers e ach of the rider had the chance to make it to the podium. However, Neeraj had got early back and the tussle was then for second and third places.
With this first place finish Neeraj is back in the hunt for the overall title while as Saurabhmaintained his overall lead with second place finish. Waheed on the other hand kept his hopes alive by finishing third after having won second and third stages.
The event is being organized by JK Sports Development Association in collaboration with Tourism Department Kashmir and is sponsored by Khyber, Mirza Sons, JK Bank, New JK Roadways and Lawrence Group of Schools.
In the event which is a 6-stage, 350-kilometre cycling extravaganza around 70 riders hailing from 12 different States of the Country are participating. The riders include some of the well international level riders of India apart from JK cycling heroes Akber Khan and UmerNabi.
Later prize distribution ceremony was held at Gulmarg Club in which CEO Gulmarg and MD J&K Cable Corporation, Nazir Ahmad was chief guest while as General Manager, Cable Car Corporation,Reyaz Ahmad was guest of honor.
Hailing the event as the best medium to promote cycling tourism in the State, CEO Gulmarg said that he would like to see more such events.
"I am happy to see event f such magnitude being held in Kashmir. We have got best possible destinations and routes to replicate the famous Tour de France event. I hope this event continues in future as well and more cyclists from Country and other parts of world participate in it," he said.
The tour moves to Sonamarg for fifth stage on Wednesday before culminating in Srinagar on Friday. The Sonamarg leg is likely to decide the fate of the event as it is last mountain stage of the event. With close competition going on for the title there is no clear cut winner yet in the event.
Last chance for me to seal the fate: Waheed
Local cyclist Waheed who is overall second in the leader board, trailing Saurabh with around 40 seconds said that Sonamarg leg will decide his fate of the event.
"I have to give it all on Wednesday in Sonamarg to see myself on podium at the end of the race. I can compete better on mountains rather than plains which is last leg of the race in Srinagar. For that reason Sonamarg is crucial for me and I will give it my all tomorrow," he said.