A record number of 443 participants drawn from 26 affiliated states and units will be seen in action during the 18th MTB (Mountain Terrain Biking) Mountain Bike National Championship, scheduled to begin at Alandi-Pune from Friday.
The three-day event, organised by the Cycling Association of Maharashtra (CAM) under the aegis of Cycling Federation of India (CFI), will be held in four categories namely the elite men-women, junior men-women, sub junior boys-girls and youth boys-girls.
A total of 19 events form the entire competition programme and includes races the Time Trial, Cross Country Mass Start, Downhill and Mix Team Relay.
CAM Organizing Committee Chairman, Pratap Jadhav said, "This year the competition will be close.Competitors are serious and at least eight teams totaling 150 participants have already been practicing at the venue familiarizing the trail and track."
It was learnt that cyclists from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka and host's Maharashtra have set base in and around the venue and practising in earnest.
The undulating track has been set around a 4.7 km trail atop a hillock at Alandi - a town popular as a place of pilgrimage and resting place of the 13th century Marathi Saint Dnyaneshwar.
This year the championship has three newcomer states in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa.