Pakistan hosts world’s toughest bike race: Tour de Khunjerab
The Tour de Khunjerab finishes nearly 5,000 meters above sea level, after hundreds of kilometers of road stretching past glaciers and snow-capped peaks.
It has been dunned a race to the ‘roof of the world’ and is being called the toughest bike race on Earth.
The Tour de Khunjerab, which is a homage to its French counterpart The Tour de France – began this weekend. 88 cyclists – including two teams from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka – as well as individual participants from Spain and Switzerland took part in the second edition of the race.
Of the 88 contestants, less than half completed the race in the allotted time.
The race has four stages – three ranging from 68 to 94-kilometres, plus a shorter time trail.
Toru de Khunjerab is thought to be the world’s toughest in that it never stops climbing. The race starts 1,500-metres above sea level, and contestants must continue heading upwards for the entire race.
The final day is often thought to be its most grueling. It begins at 2,800-metres (higher than the summit of the Tour de France) and ends at 4,700 metres (almost as tall as Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc.
According to Usman Ahmed, the man in charge of the northern Gilgit region, it is the challenge that attracts cyclists to some of the planet’s tallest peaks. It is “an attraction... for the most daring and adventurous cyclists in the world”
"There is no place in the world that offers all these things," said Ahmed.