2016 Tour de Air Force Sri Lanka

This unique national road cycling event has been held successfully for almost two decades with evidently little need nor pressure to expand its reach, even though it appears to give some UCI Asia Tour stage races a run for their money.

Images: Sri Lanka Air Force Media Department
Video: Channel Eye Sri Lanka

The Tour de Air Force Sri Lanka, known locally as ‘Guwan Hamuda Papedi Sawariya’, is organised by Sri Lanka’s Cycling Federation and has been held for 17 consecutive years. Though not UCI-sanctioned, the three day event is broadcast live by national broadcaster Jathika Rupavahini and appears to attract very good levels of coverage by broadsheet media.

Similar to national-level races held in neighbouring India, teams are mostly from Government departments with Defence (Navy, Air Force, Army) units fielding two squads. This year’s 442km race attracted 185 riders and had a total prize purse above LKR1.4m (USD10’000)

According to the Sri Lankan Air Force, “the objective of the race is to offer an opportunity to the cycling fraternity to take part in a competitive event and to promote the sport in Sri Lanka.”

With helicopters providing aerial footage and a cavalcade of race vehicles, the Guwan Hamuda Papedi Sawariya appears at least as well-equipped as some larger stage races on the Asia Tour.  There are a few brief race reports online, but all of the information below comes directly from the Sri Lankan Air Force’s website which has done a great job of covering the event. Hope you enjoy something a bit different!

Stage 1 | Colombo – Ambilipitiya 178km
Thursday, 25 February 2016

1. Ashen Tharuka (SL Air Force) 4.02:46
2. Laxman Wijeratne (SL Army) 4.02:52
3. G Nishantha Perera (DMCC) 4.02:53
4. Buddika Warnakulasuriya (SL Air Force) 4.02:57
5. Thushan Rajapaksha (SL Army) st


Stage 2 | Weerawili – Koggala 131km
Friday, 26 February 2016

1. Nidush Nirantha (SL Air Force) 2.55:33
2. Sajith Hasantha (SLPA) st
3. Krishan Madushanka (SL Navy) st


Stage 3 | Koggala – Air Force HQ, Colombo 133km
Saturday, 27 February 2016

1. Jeewan Jayasinghe (SL Air Force) 3.3:13
2. Nidush Nirantha (SL Air Force) st
3. Naveen Ruchira (SL Air Force) st

1. Ashen Tharuka (Air Force)
2. Lakshman Wijeratne (SL Army)
3. Nishantha Perera (DMCC)

1. SL Army A Team
2. SL Air Force A Team
3. SL Air Force B Team