The beaming smiles on the faces of the cyclists in the picture you see are for good reason. Finally, after years of wait, they got to touch, feel and even ride on the new, state of the art bikes that had been promised.
The cycles were dispatched from Delhi on Friday, and as Sunday is the main training day for the cycling squad (because that is the day when they find the traffic conditions the most suitable), the team debuted with their shiny new equipment on the streets of Patiala.
The head coach of the team, Chayan Chowdhary said, "We had a very good first training session with the new bikes today (Sunday). We are very happy that the equipment has finally arrived and it has come as a morale booster for the team as well.
Having the new cycles will make it a lot easier for the team, and will also motivate them to push that much harder in training and in competition."
The cyclists covered 140 kilometres on the road on Sunday, and were already getting accustomed to the bikes they will use in competition in two weeks time.
When asked if they have enough time to get used to the new cycles, Sunita Devi, one of the women riders, said, "We have been training on cycles that are older, but basically very similar to these. So there is no major acclimatization required. Of course, since the bikes are new, we have to break them in and make minor adjustments based on individual requirements, but this will not take more than a couple of days."
"Also, we have received purpose-built cycles for the different events. “Not only are there different cycles for road and track races, but also different ones for the various sprint and endurance events on the track. This will help us do better in individual events," Sunita concluded. In less than ten days though, the cycles and their riders will pack up once again, and make the trip back to the Capital.