Regarded by many as one of the toughest mountain bike races on the world calendar, Yak Attack, “The highest mountain bike race on earth” gets under way for the fifth time on March 7th, 2011.
With a new title sponsor in the shape of UK bike brand, Genesis, the event has gone from strength to strength, attracting its largest field to date.
Competitors from Nepal, India, UK, Australia, South Africa and Singapore have signed up to take on the 400km, 11 day, high altitude stage race around the Nepal Himalaya.
For 2011 the race has been made even tougher than previous years, with an additional initial 4 days through the foothills and a final additional day through the tropical lowlands, adding an extra 5,200m of vertical climbing, making a collective total of over 11,000m. The race peaks after 8.5 days at an oxygen deprived 5,416m on the Thorong la pass, from where competitors then enjoy 105km of predominantly downhill, finishing 2.5days later at a mere 800m above sea level.
After entering team rider, Paul Errington, in last years race, Genesis were so impressed with feedback from the race and with the organisers ideology of using race entry proceeds to benefit Nepali riders that they decided to continue and extend their support during 2011. On top of supplying a Genesis MTB as first prize, the UK company has also pledged to support Nepal National MTB Champion, Ajay Pandit Chhetri in his bid for success on the international race scene with the offer of a new Latitude titanium frame.
To complement the Nepal Year of Tourism 2011, the Nepal Tourist Board have also pledged support for the race, which together with support from Himal.de., HimalayanSingleTrack, Dawn Till Dusk and Torq Fitness has meant organisers have been able to offer the biggest cash purse to date. In addition to a cash prize for each stage win, there will be top 3 finishers prizes, plus a Genesis mountain bike for the overall winner, with a potential purse for the winner worth in excess of £2500.
The competition is expected to be the most hotly contested yet. National champ, Ajay Chhetri is vying to be the first person to win 2 consecutive Yak Attacks, whilst Padam Sabenhang is hoping to recreate the success he had in winning the 2008 event. With 3 other Nepal national team riders taking part, a team from the Indian army and with rumors of one of the Australian riders training in an altitude chamber,the pace threatens to be fast and furious.
Daily race reports will be posted on the event website www.yak-attack.co.uk from the 7th of March with the final winner being crowned on 18th March in the lakeside city of Pokhara.