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Meet the two Indian cyclists who made history by conquering ‘Race Around Austria’

The ‘Team Inspire India’, consisting of Bharat Pannu and Darshan Dubey, finished the 2200km race in the two-person relay category.

pune Updated: Aug 17, 2017 15:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Cycling,Race
Bharat Pannu and Darshan Dubey took 4 days, 3 hours and 53 minutes to finish the race and were placed 5th in their category.(HT PHOTO)

After the successful completion of the Race Across America (RAAM) by two Indian solo riders, two Indian cyclists created history at another challenging endurance cycling race, Race Around Austria (RAA), on Monday.

The ‘Team Inspire India’, consisting of Bharat Pannu and Darshan Dubey, finished the 2200km race in the two-person relay category. They took 4 days, 3 hours and 53 minutes to finish the race and were placed 5th in their category. In the process, they became the first Indian pair to achieve the feat. Indian cyclist Ammar Miyaji from Nashik attempted RAA in 2016 but failed to finish it in stipulated time limit.

Though Race Around Austria covers lesser distance than RAAM (4000km), it is considered as one of the toughest race as the cyclists ride around 9 peaks in Alps mountain range, with approximately 98,500 feet elevation gain. It is almost equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest three times during the race duration.

Lt Col Bharat Pannu is an aeronautical engineer and hails from Rohtak, Haryana. He is employed with the Indian Army since June 2005 and is presently posted at Nashik Aviation Base maintaining the helicopters of the Indian Army.

He is the first Indian to successfully complete any Ultra race in India of a distance longer than 400 miles. He achieved this feat by participating in the first edition of Ultra Spice Race (1000 km) in January 2017.

Darshan Dubey is a post graduate in business design and hails from Nasik. At present, he is employed as Store Manager with Aditya Birla Retail at Bangalore. He started with long distance cycling two years ago by participating in Audax events.

At the finish, Bharat Pannu said “This has been an awesome experience to finally succeed in our mission of being the first Indians to finish any Ultra Race in Europe. RAA is a demanding a race and we are happy to have lived up to the challenge.”

Dubey said “We have had a very enriching experience at RAA.The hospitality and encouragement from people here, especially the Moshammer family, was very motivating. The best part of reaching the finish line was to see the huge support for India.”

The riders were supported by Inspire India, and most of the crew members were from Pune. Divya Tate, founder of Inspire India was the crew chief while city cyclist Chaitanya Velhal worked as a coach for the riders.

“Inspire India was founded with an aim to inspire more and more Indians to take to cycling. This event has been a great success. I am certain we will see a lot more Indians take to cycling in India and succeed in events abroad,” said Divya Tate.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 13:01 IST