The summer race season might still be a distant thought for most of us but out in Nepal, preparations are afoot for the sixth Yak Attack. Here’s news on its new sponsor, Torq, and some rather nice pictures of the mountains.
The organisers of Yak Attack, ‘The highest mountain bike race on Earth’ are proud to announce a new title sponsor in the shape of UK-based fitness consultancy and performance nutrition products developer, TorqFitness.
Torq have been involved with the Himalayan stage race ever since Matt Hart, company director, took part in 2008; supporting Nepali riders, supplying Torq performance products for the event and even coaching Nepal’s national mountain bike champion Ajay Pandit Chhetri.
Now, with a company of Torq’s reputation by their side, organisers are confident the race will go from strength to strength, being able to fulfill its ideology of using event profits to benefit the Nepali mountain bike scene and working towards assisting a Nepali mountain bike team in their bid to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
The 10 day stage race kicks off in less than seven weeks. Competitors from Nepal, UK, Ireland, USA, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Australia will ride out of Kathmandu on 3rd March with 400km of mountainous trails ahead of them. After four days of riding through the Himalayan foothills, the course then heads into the mountains proper with 4.5 days of climbing, peaking at 5416m above sea level. It’s then 4300m of descent in less than 100km to finish at the hot spring resort of Tatopani.
2012 is set to be the biggest and most exciting Yak Attack to date. The previous five years have seen Nepalis take all the podium places and only two stages have ever been won by international riders, but this year things could change. Team Topeak-Ergon USA are sending out 2 riders, in the form of Jeff Kerkove and Sonya Looney, both endurance specialists living in Colorado and so already used to the altitude. Paul Bolla, the 2011 2nd-placed international, is returning for a second go, fitter and stronger, and Keith Green, last year’s medic, will be trying his hand at racing this year. Couple this with some very strong riders from the UK and Germany, amongst others, and the Nepali boys have a very real battle on their hands this year. The clever money still has to be on Ajay Pandit Chhetri however; after his coaching from TorqFitness, he took second place in the TransWales, narrowly missing out to Matt Page; a 52nd placing in La Ruta and has been training hard on home soil for the last two months.
To follow the riders progress during the race, check into the race website www.yak-attack.co.uk where reports and results will be posted daily from 3rd March, or follow Yak Attack on Facebook.
Entries for the 2013 race will be open from 31st March 2012.