Traffic chaos at Mumbai-Pune cycle race sees racer in top 5 crash metres from finish

According to cyclists, the reason for the chaos and accidents at the finish is a complete lack of organisation in Pune, which saw regular traffic on the same roads as the competing cyclists.
Sambhaji Mohite fell down on JM road after chaos at the Mumbai - Pune Cycle Race finish point in Pune.(RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO)
Sambhaji Mohite fell down on JM road after chaos at the Mumbai - Pune Cycle Race finish point in Pune.(RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Mar 25, 2018 11:24 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByAshish Phadnis

The Mumbai-Pune cycle race on Sunday, ended in chaos with Ahmednagar’s 20-year-old Sambhaji Mohite, set for a top-five finish, crashing metres from the finish line. Mohite eventually did not even make it to the top 10.

According to cyclists, the reason for the chaos and accidents at the finish is a complete lack of organisation in Pune, which saw regular traffic on the same roads as the competing cyclists.

Tournament secretary Pratap Jadhav chose to draw a Tour de France comparison, no less, to justify the state of affairs.

Chaos on JM road while finishing Mumbai - Pune Cycle Race in Pune. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO)
Chaos on JM road while finishing Mumbai - Pune Cycle Race in Pune. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT PHOTO)

“Even during the Tour de France, crashes and accidents happen, but no one asks organisers for compensation,” said Jadhav. 

One of the organisers, who asked not to be named, blamed the local traffic police. “We sought permission from the traffic police several months ago and it was their duty to clear the roads of traffic for the cyclists to finish. They arrived at the spot just five minutes before the finish and did nothing to control the traffic. In Mumbai, the traffic control was excellent, but in Pune, we always face problems,” he claimed.

Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Ashok Morale said, “I can assure you with documents that we had proper bandobast from Nigdi to the finish line. We stopped all signals and tried to move organisers vehicles as well out of the way, but they did not move.”

When asked if protests of the cyclists would be considered, Jadhav said that they will go by the rules. “There is no provision to allot a place to any cyclist if he crashes,” he said. 

The end of the 153-km Mumbai-Pune cycle race, which saw 175 cyclists compete, was particularly galling for Mohite.

“I don’t have any sponsors or coach. I have been training hard on my own. I have spent several months training and was sure that I would finish in the top five to win a cash prize. Now just because of mis-management I have to return empty handed,” said Bhide. 

City trafficking in organisational disgrace

- Pune International Marathon has suffered bad traffic management and crowd control, negatively affecting runners

- Mumbai-Pune cycle race: Cyclists forced to make their way out of busy traffic, especially at the Pune end.

- Mumbai-Pune cycle race: In 2009, Punjab's Amandeep Singh was leading the race and within 50 metres of the finish when a car came into his path, causing him to crash and finish sixth. 

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