‘Sri Lanka Tea Cup’ to boost island as a cycling destination | Daily News

‘Sri Lanka Tea Cup’ to boost island as a cycling destination

Chief Executive Officer Sri Lankan Airlines Suren Ratwatte, Chairman Lanka Sportsrizen (LSR) Tilak Weerasinghe and Head of Media, Srilankan Airlines Deepal Perera at the press Conference.
Chief Executive Officer Sri Lankan Airlines Suren Ratwatte, Chairman Lanka Sportsrizen (LSR) Tilak Weerasinghe and Head of Media, Srilankan Airlines Deepal Perera at the press Conference.

Ending Sri Lanka's long term top notched cycle race drought, Lanka Sportreizen (LSR) in collaboration with the Cycle Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) and Sri Lankan Airlines will conduct the Sri Lanka Tea Cup - Coast to coast cycle road race from April 6 to 9, covering nearly 325kms on vastly varied terrain, bridging the island nations East coast and West coast, cities Pasikuda and Negombo. This was revealed to the media during a press briefing at the Sri Lankan Airlines office WTC recently.

The race will be a team event where a team is eligible to have minimum 4 and maximum 5 cyclists. The team registration for the race will be done on April 5 at the Catamaran Beach Hotel in Negombo and the cyclists will ride in a convoy to Pasikuda on the following day where the race will commence on April 7. The first stage from Pasikuda to Mahiyanganaya is the longest

stretch and will have 133kms to ride. The second stage is the shortest distance with 71Kms and will ride on April 8 from Mahiyanganaya to Kandy.

The LSR chairman Thilak Weerasinghe explaining the race schedule said even though the mileage of second day is lesser, cyclists will have an uphill task to riding on famous 18-bends where they have to reach high altitude with in a short period of time. "So it will be a very challenging stage, despite its short distance. Both first and second stages will commence at 9.00 a.m. But the third and final stage from Kandy to Negombo via Kurunegala, covering a distance of 120Kms will commence at 12 noon on April 9, going on par with the international norms," Weerasinghe revealed.

The prize giving will be held at the Catamaran Beach Hotel on April 9 evening. The Sri Lanka Tea Cup will be a US $ 20,430 total prize money race where US $ 10,250 will be on offer for overall winners. Cash awards will be given from the first to 20th place while there will be special cash awards for 'King of Mountains', 'Point Sprin't and for Stage Winners. The Best Sri Lankan team will also receive a cash award. Teams will wear colour jerseys according to their stage performances as in top international events. Information about the race are available on the event's official website: www.srilankateacup.com

According to organizers, 7 international teams including teams from Holland, Philippine, Singapore and a team from Kenya have confirmed their participation along with two local teams so far. "Initially we hope to include 10 local and 10 international teams giving equal opportunity to local teams," Weerasinghe said.

Weerasinghe went on to say that he has identified Sri Lanka's natural suitability for cycling sport long ago and wanted to conduct an international standard race here.

He praised Sri Lankan Airline's generous sponsorship for the event and assured that the event will drag international attention soon.

“This will be our pilot project where some of UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) accredited international comissaires will officiate. Officials from Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong will be here to officiate. So we hope to put this event on Asian Cycling Confederation's annual calendar within three years. We hope to boost Sri Lanka's image as a safe and secure place for tourists to promote Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for recreational activities and cycling. We also want to develop cycling in Sri Lanka and give local cyclists a chance to compete and learn from international cyclists. This will be a unique experience for Sri Lanka where a race will be conducted strictly to international standard. So cyclists will not be disturbed by their supporters, no interference will be allowed during the race, " Weerasinghe explained.

Sri Lankan Airline's CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte said that they are happy to sponsor this event as they always encourage Carbon neutral sports such as cycling, marathon. "We are highly satisfied with the standard of this race, specially safety and international rules, Capt. Ratwatte said.

Sri Lankan Airline's Chief Commercial Officer Siva Ramachandran stated that this magnitude of events will bring international fame to Sri Lanka.

Sports Ministry, SL Police, SL Tourism Promotion Bureau and Negombo Municipal Council are also supporting the event.


There is 1 Comment

I have recently visited Sri Lanka and as a keen cyclist was impressed by the road quality and the hills too. It's the drivers that put people off.


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