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Mumbai's Jadhav pedals to victory

DNPUN55996 | 1/14/2013 | Author : Ashish Phadnis | WC :460

Wins golden jubilee edition of Mumbai-Pune cycle race; Sangli's Dilip Mane emerges King of Ghat

What else India's oldest cycle event, Mumbai-Pune race, in their golden jubilee edition, could have asked for, than having a Mumbai cyclist, Omkar Jadhav, winning the race.
The annual event, which is being held since 1980, was being dominated by cyclists from Services for a long period. But after a gap of six years, a cyclist from Maharashtra, Jadhav, has managed to claim the title. In 2006, Maharashtra's Uttam Joshi had won the event. Jadhav, timed 4:13.22 in the race. The 157-km race ended at Jungli Maharaj Road on Sunday.
Dilip Mane, another cyclist from Maharashtra's rural area near Sangli, emerged the King of Ghat, while his teammate, Hussain Ajij Kurbu signed off the event winning the Pavel, Nadal and Khopoli primes, to make this year's dominated by the Maharashtra cyclists.
The race was flagged off from the Gateway of India with the finish line near Sambhaji garden in Pune, via RK studio, Vashi, Palm Beach Road, Panvel, Khopoli Ghat, Lonavla, Kamshet and Pimpri-Chinchwad, covering a distance of 157.5km.
Jadhav bagged the cash prize of Rs1 lakh along with a trophy. Jeetha Ram from Railways finished second while, India Camper Harpreet Singh was placed third. The duo pocketed Rs75,000 and Rs51,000 respectively. Army's Ravindra Karande and Diben Meetei finished fourth and fifth respectively.
A resident of Kharghar in Mumbai, Jadhav, had finished third in the last edition of the race, and his game plan with his coach Hussain Masud of Germany, worked well.
"I had decided to not to push hard and reserve my stamina for the last stage. So most of the time, I was in the second bunch of cyclists and after crossing the ghat, I gradually increased my pace. Though I experienced a stiff challenge from Railway and Services riders, the extra strength, which I had preserved, enabled me to win," said the 23-year-old professional cyclist, who dedicated this win to his father, whom he lost in 2004.
Talking about the change of route this year, Jadhav said, "It was hard, as it included more of ghat section. However, I found it equally challenging and enjoyed every bit of it."
Meanwhile, King of Ghat, Dilip Mane won a load of applause for his efforts. Twenty-year-old Mane, who hails from Kavthe Mahakal, a remote village near Sangli, started his career in cycling in 2009. Due to financial restraints, he was forced to participate in the event with an Indian-made modified cycle. He still gave a good fight to other riders with imported cycles.
"Last year, I had participated with a non-geared cycle and couldn't complete the race. So this time, I got a modified geared bike. If I had an imported bike, I would have definitely won the event," said Mane, who finished overall sixth.
p_ashish@dnaindia.net

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