Kashmir is all set to host the maiden International Cycling Championship next month for which all arrangements have been finalised, the state's Minister for Youth Services and Sports R S Chib said on Thursday.
The one-day event, scheduled for December 4, is being organised by Tour De India in collaboration with the Cycling Federation of India, International Cycling Federation and Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council, Chib told reporters.
He said 120 cyclists of international repute are expected to take part in the event having seven 26-kilometre laps -- a total distance of 168 kms.
"The race will be held on the banks of world famous Dal Lake and will be telecast live. Twenty international media channels will cover the event," Chib said.
He said the race is being held in three cities of the country.
On December 2, the first leg of the race will be held in Mumbai followed by the second in Srinagar while the third and final leg will be held on December 9 in the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
"It is the first mega event of its kind here. I welcome all the participants and hope the event will be successful," Chib said adding it will be a feather in the cap for JK sports council.
He said a contingent of 250 participants and officials from abroad will arrive on December 3 in the valley.
"Reputed teams like Astana and Lotto have confirmed their participation in the event," he said.
"We will be able to showcase the beauty of Kashmir before the world. I am grateful to Tour de India for bringing this event to the valley as it will also provide an opportunity for the youth to witness the race and hopefully infuse interest in them," Chib said.
Managing Director Tour de India Akil Khan said the valley provides best circuit for cycling and "I am sure international players will like it".
"The natural countryside is here in Srinagar and that is best for cycling. International cyclist look forward to long stretches and high altitude and this (valley) is the best they can have," Khan said, adding "It is better than Mumbai and Noida".
He said many more such events will be organised in the state.
"We want this to be a regular feature and not just for a day but for two to three days so that the participants can enjoy the beauty of the valley and help in promotion of tourism as well," he said.
The event will showcase the beginning of a landmark opportunity, Khan said. He said the event carries a prize money of Rs 10 Lakh. Earler, Chib laid the foundation stone of the Sports council headquarters adjacent to the Bakshi Stadium here.
The Rs 2.5 crore building will be completed in one year time, he said.
He also announced the Sher-e-Kashmir award for outstanding sportsperson will be given for the year 2011-12 and 2012-13 on December 5.