71 cyclists from 24 nations assembled at the Buddh International FI Circuit near Delhi, India, to participate in the 156.2 kilometer Elite Men’s Road Race at the 2013 Asian Cycling Championships last weekend. Cycling iQ and local freelance writer Praveen Kumar combined resources, secured a media pass and witnessed the race for the coveted White Jersey unfold.
Moments before the race start. We can only imagine what the atmosphere would have been like had these stands been filled with spectators.
Images: Praveen Kumar
Over half the field had registered a ‘DNF’ by the time Uzbekistan’s Muradjan Halmuratov fixed his gaze on the start/finish line for the final time, under the watchful eyes of an audience comprised of emotionless officials. The unsigned Halmuratov, who only three days earlier had also ridden to victory in the Elite Men’s Time Trial, had come up against an impressive group of riders – including many in the fortunate position of being able to leave India result-less, but with pro cycling team contracts behind them – and proven too strong.
While Halmuratov’s win was most probably not anticipated by punters, Iran’s Arvin Moazemi Goudarzi and Kazakhstan’s Andrey Mizurov confirmed the status of their respective countries amongst Asia’s top cycling nations with second and third places, respectively; although, having suffered numerous visa problems, the mood amongst the Iranian camp was still solemn.
“We lost one medal today. After nearly 70kms, we had two riders in the breakaway group but unfortunately one of them punctured. It was a huge loss for us.” lamented Chaichi Raghimi Mostafa, Manager of Iran’s National Team.
Halmuratov, having taken a long-range punt, could leave India with a perfect score; his haul of gold medals even more impressive considering Uzbekistan’s Cycling Federation only formed in 1995 (four years after the dissolution of the USSR) and Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil-DCM) is the country’s only current professional road cyclist.
“I knew that I am not a good sprinter. So my only chance was to shed all other riders from the breakaway group and reach the finish line alone” explained an elated Muradjan Halmuratov, moments after being presented with his second gold medal and white jersey. “Also, my two team mates did great by just sitting and not helping the chasing group.”
The 2014 Asian Cycling Championships will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan. Full results from all road cycling disciplines can be downloaded here.
Moving through the F1 circuit’s narrow service lanes. The actual F1 circuit is slightly longer than 5km, but race organizers creatively used service lanes to make one lap of 14.2kms.
On the fourth lap, after nearly 45 kilometers of racing, Amir Mustafa Rusli (Malaysia) and Fatahillah Abdullah (Indonesia) attacked and broke away from the peloton
A chasing group formed to bring back the pair; eventual race winner Muradjan Halmuratov (Uzbekistan) was in this group.
Mehdi Sohrabi of Iran – in 2012, a WorldTour rider with Lotto Belisol – was possibly the biggest star participating in the race. He could manage only a 12th place in the 2013 Asian Cycling Championships Elite Men’s Road Race.
After 70 kilometers, with Halmuratov setting the pace, the breakaway riders were caught. The new consolidated group contained nine riders.
Andrey Mizurov (Kazakhstan) and Muradjan Halmuratov (Uzbekistan) at the front of the breakaway group
Yousif Alhammadi found the pace too hot, dropping out of the lead group, which is two minutes ahead of the peloton and a little over one lap remaining.
Halmuratov wins the race after shedding his breakaway companions.
Gold medal: Muradjan Halmuratov (Uzbekistan); Silver: Arvin Moazemi Goudari (Iran); Bronze: Andrey Mizurov (Kazakhstan). Van Duan Le (Vietnam) and Ying Hon Ronald Yeung (Hong Kong) finished fourth and fifth, respectively
Muradjan Halmuratov (UZB) with Uzbekistan Coach, Markelova Lyudmila Vasilyevna
Praveen with Iran’s Mehdi Sohrabi
It’s a pity that CFI couldn’t arrange the race on proper roads.
No-one …NO-ONE there to watch…how very sad is that
Thanks cam for providing me with an accreditation. Covering Asian Cycling Championships for CyclingIQ was a great experience.
it was really sad for any cycling fan.
Track events were fairly accessible to public, velodrome was inside national capital, comparitively less strictness in entry. but very few people knew about it.
But road events were completely inaccessible to common public.It was the same scene during CWG events No body apart from media and officials were allowed near the race route. It was as if race is taking place amidst some kind of curfew. Here also… firstly, the venue was formula one circuit, which is nearly thirty kilometres outside main city. secondly, and most importantly, there was no entry for those who were not having any pass.
No exception, no pass means no entry. there was no system where public can get passes or buy tickets. not at all.
problems were always there – timely visa was not granted to many teams, lack of proper transportation facilities for teams.
I know cycling is not so popular sport in India but I wish it becomes a popular sport quickly.
I always say to different people in cycling community here – It is not the responsibility of fans to come closer to bike(cycling as sport) but It is our- those who are in media and federation – responsibility to take bike closer to fans. And we are consistently failing in doing so. No body – apart from few cyclists who were not even allowed to visit -knows that India hosted Asian Cycling Championships.
India still has to cover a long road before Cycling becomes popular here.
CFI is monopolized by politicians ( mostly sikhs) who have nothing to do with cycling. The way they asked to rare medal winner Manorama to carry medal trays to podium is disgusting and shows that CFI do not have any real respect for cylists. It’s high time to dissolve the CFI and form new one. We have seen the country of 1.2 billions do not have even an asian medal winner in last 66 years. There is no team from India to represent in Asia or World tours. CFI is the disgrace to Cycling. Cyclothons like Ahmedabad should not involve CFI. CFI is the BS. UCI should seriously think of looking for alternative body to promote cycling in India. Shame on CFI.
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