Yak Attack 2016 – The Prologue.
Could this be the year that see’s an end to the Nepali domination of the top spot? Let’s take a look…
|Catch him if you can. Ajay Pandit Chhetri.|
|Cory Wallace winning this years Tour of the Dragon, Bhutan.|
|Yuki Ikeda. The Tokyo Typhoon.|
The Nepali national riders Narayan Gopal Maharjan, Aayman Tamang, Rajkumar Shreshta, and Roan Tamang, are all phenomenal mountain goats, although unlikely to win they will certainly be in the shake-up for podium spots. The great thing about this race though is its unpredictability and these boys will take it to the wire.
|Roan, Rajkumar, Laxmi, Narayan, Aayman, and Ajay at the start line in 2015.|
Australian singlespeed aficionado Peter Butt returns for a record equalling (for an international rider) fourth Yak Attack.
Peter was the first international to ever feature on the podium, he’s currently acclimatising in Manang with Cory. He’s a very smart and consistent racer. He will be in the mix.
The Chasing Pack
Zbigniew Wizner from Poland is certain to be the man to beat in The Veterans field and could well be figuring in the Top Ten overall. A man in his fifties who races like a man in his twenties; amazing athlete. Keep one eye on his performance.
Yak Attack veteran Zoltan Keller (Hungary) gets stronger and stronger with each passing year, if his Strava stats and preparation are anything to go by he will be crushing it. A Top Ten finish could well be on the cards
Mike Hancock (UK) and Ching Soo Loh (Singapore) have been putting in the miles, both are also raising money for worthwhile causes, and deserve some respect.
Whilst in Kathmandu this week I’ve spent a lot of time riding with Glen Hedges from New Zealand. He’s a strong rider and great company. Look out for him too.
|Neil Cottam and Glen Hedges riding the infamous Helipad in Kathmandu.|
The rest of the field look equally interesting; Pedro Bento (Spain) has stage race experience, Liam Organ (UK) is a formidable athlete, Tetsuo Shimoda another one.
It’s going to be a Battle Royale right across the field.
Every year throws up at least one surprise entrant. I wonder who it will be this time?
It might well be Julian Paphitis (UK) who recently hammered the South Downs Double into submission with a rocking time of 23 hours and 2 minutes.
|Paul Cooper with Neil Cottam at Thorong Phedi in 2014.
The women’s field is abounded by a proliferation of indomitable Tigress’ and looks like being a smoking hot contest. Some of these ladies will be sharpening their competitive claws as we speak.
Friend of Chase The Rainbow, Nepal National Champion, and inspiring female role model, Laxmi Magar has consistently improved her race potential year after year. She has been racing and training hard all year, although an international coaching camp in Korea recently has disrupted her schedule. I’m sure she’ll be ready.
Tenacious Tania Tryhorn – Australia. Everyone’s favourite fruitcake. Tania has shown exactly what’s possible with determination and training. Her first Yak Attack was a test of her adventurous mettle. In her second Yak Attack she came back as a racer. She has shown continuous improvement since then. She’ll be loving the whole adventure and laughing the whole way through. She’ll also be racing… Hard.
|Tania Tryhorn and Wendy Lyall.|
Lovely Wendy Lyall – USA. Wendy has been here before and she knows the drill, she knows the terrain, she knows what’s needed. A definite front runner.
Sabrina Filzmoser – Austria – Judo Olympian, World Championship Bronze Medallist, and European Champion. Tour of the Dragon Senior women’s winner.
That’s quite some palmares. Let’s keep an eye on this warrior.
Mireille Montminy from Canada has a long history of stage race experience including La Ruta in Costa Rica. Another potential winner?
I’d say this young lady has a serious top spot claim.
I’m staggered by the quality of this years field and it really is too tough to call an outright winner in either the mens or the womens race, plus there are so many variables that can affect the outcome.
My heart says Ajay, my head says Cory.
Bring it on.
|Last years podium featured (L to R) Aayman, Peter Butt, Ajay, Narayan, and Yuki.|
Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.