The 20th National Road Cycling Championships of India are being held this week in the southern state of Kerala, so Cycling iQ has teamed up with photographer Chenthil Mohan to bring you highlights, plus a little background to racing in the subcontinent.
Images: Chenthil Mohan
It shouldn’t be possible to talk about road cycling without mentioning a country in which almost one-fifth of the world’s population lives. And yet, the last time this nation of almost 1.3 billion people featured in a global road cycling event was in 1952, when four Indian riders competed in the road race at the Helsinki Summer Olympics.
But if the momentum that has been building over the last five years is anything to go by, the tide may finally be turning.
Though India’s first professional road cycling team was sadly not able to realise its long-term ambitions, the publicity generated by Vivek Radhakrishnan’s Specialized Kynkyny squad put the domestic spotlight on road cycling in a way not seen before.
India made its first Asia Tour race appearance (outside of India) at the UCI2.2 Sharjah Tour in 2013. The Indian National team’s Sachin Kumar finished 20 minutes behind winner Roman van Uden, indicating significantly more development effort was needed – but at least a benchmark was gained.
Most recently, Australian Continental squad State of Matter MAAP Racing (SOM) announced that Naveen John would be joining the team for the 2016 season.
The corollary? It’s time we start paying attention to what’s happening in India. [If you want to learn more, just pop over to the search field and type in ‘India’ – or simply click here]. Now, to the racing!
Confusingly, India’s 20th national road cycling championships are actually the 2015 championships. Bureaucratic oddities aside, the timing of the event unfortunately means no UCI points will be awarded to place-getters. UCI regulation 1.2.029 states: “National road championships shall be run during the last week of June. If this is not the case, no UCI points may be awarded.”
For the rider’s sake, hopefully the Cycling Federation of India will observe UCI regulations more closely in future. Here’s the schedule of events:
This page will be updated daily with images and results from the four-day championships, so check back for more of Chenthil’s great shots over the weekend. Update notifications will be made on Twitter.
All events take place on the same 10km loop, as seen in this time lapse from Chenthil:
DAY ONE – INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIALS
Warming up near the start line in a humid pressure cooker.
Enterprising locals opened a shop on the back of an auto rickshaw. Bananas Rs.15 (USD0.20) each.
A local village school turned up to watch the action.
The host state (Kerala) were well represented in the Women’s ITT.
Junior Men’s ITT champion, Sandesh Uppar (Karnataka state)
Elite Men’s ITT champion, Arvind Panwar (Railway Sports Promotion Board)
Action from the U23 ITT
DAY TWO – CRITERIUMS & U23 MEN’S ROAD RACE
Start of the Elite Women’s criterium
Start of the Elite Men’s criterium: the SSCB (Services Sports Control Board) team has been camping near the venue for the last month and immediately broke loose as the flag dropped.
The U23 Men’s Road Race was reduced to 80km
Results from the U23 Men’s Road Race TBA
DAY THREE – TEAM TIME TRIALS
An overnight downpour and misty morning with low visibility delayed Day 3 events
Elite Women’s TTT Champions, Kerala
Elite Men’s TTT, Rajasthan team
DAY FOUR – ELITE MEN’S & ELITE WOMEN’S ROAD RACE
Action from the Women’s race, won by Lidiyamol M Sunny (Kerala)
The Elite Men’s Road Race was also reduced to 100km
Manjeet Singh (SSCB) wins the Elite Men’s Road Race, with team mate Atul Kumar in 2nd