Kashmir cyclist Waheed Ahmad Ganai Monday cruised to second successive victory in the 3rd stage of ongoing Khyber 13th Tour de Kashmir cycling expedition held from Humhama Chowk to Dodapathri.
After achieving surprise victory in the second stage, Waheed continued his dominance on mountains by cruising to victory in the third stage and reducing the margin of the overall tour leader.
Rajneesh of Haryana finished second while as overall leader and holder of yellow jersey Saurabh from the same state finished third.
Earlier, the third stage of this 350-kilometre national level cycling extravaganza was flagged off from Humhama by Deputy-Commissioner Budgam, Mir Altaf along with officials from Police, administration and organizers J&K Sports Development Association.
The event is being organized by JKSDA in collaboration with Tourism department Kashmir for the promotion of cycling tourism in the State.
The route of the third stage was uphill and in it almost all the riders from leader board, including Umer Nabi and Akber Khan besides Saurabh and Waheed.
Later, prize distribution ceremony was held at Dodapathri in which first position holders were awarded prizes by CEO, Dodapathri Development Authority, Zahoor Ahmad Mir.
Waheed who is emerging cycling talent of Kashmir made most of his ability on the mountains by giving it all at the finish line.
"I met with accident and then I had to rejoin the leading bunch. Seeing the finish I gave it all and passed ahead of the two cyclists from Haryana. Though I won two stages but due to time lapse in first stage I am still trailing Saurabh by around 40 seconds. The next two stages, being held at Gulmarg and Sonamarg, will decide fate of the event," Waheed said.
Umer Nabi who is still in the hunt to make it four tour titles in the row said that Gulmarg phase will decide fate of his title hopes.
"Today it was golden chance for me to take huge lead and reduce the gap of leader. However, when I was leading I along with Akber met accident and had a fall. Still I gave it my all and joined the leading bunch. But that took toll on my chances. My only hope now is Gulmarg and if I will be able to win that with sizeable margin then I have got chances to make it for the title," he said.
The only kind of its kind event will on Tuesday move to fourth stage that will be held from Magam to Gulmarg. The fifth stage would be held from Gagangeer to Sonamarg in Ganderbal district. The last stage is scheduled to be held in Srinagar along with prize distribution ceremony.