On Friday, the 14th edition of the Hero-MTB Himalaya cycle race started from Shimla. Termed as Asia’s biggest cycling race, it will end in Dharamshala, in HP, on October 6. For the first time, two of the top-10 finishers at the UCI MTB World Marathon Championships, Andi Seewald and Ole Hem, are competing, as also India’s fastest mountain biker Akshit Gaur, who represents the Hero Action Team. “The race will consolidate brand India and anchor its presence on the global cycling atlas,” said Pankaj M Munjal, chairman, Hero Motors Company. Also, the Himalayan Adventure Sports & Tourism Promotion Association, which is the organiser, through its social outreach ‘Mission SMILE’, will distribute 15,000 notebooks to students in the roughly 100 villages the racers will pass through over nine days.