In a historic first, three cyclists from Vidarbha – Vikas Patra and Abhishek Anne (Nagpur) and Atul Tayade (Sewagram) — have qualified and registered for the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) ride to be held in August this year.
Organised by Audax Club Parisien (ACP), the August 17 PBP is the most coveted crown for a randonneur. To qualify for the endurance ride held every four years, a bicyclist has to become a Super Randonneur (SR) in a year of PBP by completing in time 200-km, 300, 400 and 600-km brevets.
Brevets are unsupported check-point rides organized across the world under the aegis of ACP. In the city, these are held by Nagpur Randonneurs under the guidance of Audax India Randonneurs affiliated to ACP.
Only 6,000 riders from across the globe qualify for PBP, to be completed in 90 hours max. The registration is on a first come, first served basis after slots are allotted to those who have pre-registered.
While Abhishek and Atul are first-time SRs, Vikas was an SR in 2016-17 and 2017-18 as well. In fact, in 2016-17, he completed five SRs and emerged one of the strongest endurance riders in the country.
Abhishek said: “I never thought I will be a part of this prestigious event. I started cycling only a year ago and joined the Nagpur Randonneurs community.
“I started thinking about PBP after I completed my SR this February. But by that time pre-registrations were full. My only hope was a registration day two months before the event. I lost hope when I missed that slot too. But I continued to practice.
“Two weeks ago, I got a notification from ACP regarding a few open positions and I immediately registered.
“It’s a mammoth task carrying your bike all the way to France, accommodation, travel in France with the bike and the event itself, a 1200-km unsupported ride. You need to carry your gear to face chilling nights, rains, winds, supplements, and food. Fingers crossed.”
Atul said: “I almost missed the bus as the registrations were full much before the July 3 deadline. A few cancellations saved us.
“I was disappointed with the initial registration failure and had stopped my preparations. Now I am back riding strong and am looking forward to the PBP experience. I recently upgraded to a road bike with PBP on the mind.”
Vikas could not be reached for comment as he was doing a 1000-km preparatory brevet in Surat.
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