THE 52nd Mumbai-Pune cycle race was hit by “mismanagement” causing chaos and confusion close to the finish on Jangli Maharaj Road. Some of the cyclists even bumped into PMPML buses against which they had to compete for space on road.
On Sunday, bystanders said there was chaos when the cyclists entered he last leg of the race on the Jangli Maharaj Road. The Pune Traffic Police allegedly did not stop regular vehicles or diverted them, which meant that the cyclists had to negotiate with bikes, rickshaws and even PMPML buses on the stretch.
Organisers said they had informed the police departments in all three towns, Mumbai, Thane and Pune, and requested for necessary permissions.
“We were in touch with the Pune Traffic Police and informed them when the cyclists had reached Dehu Road. They should have diverted or stopped the traffic but apparently, they did not take it seriously. If the traffic was managed properly, may be the results of the race would have been different as some of the leading cyclists faced trouble due to other vehicles on the road,” said Gajen Ganla, one of the organisers.
The traffic police department admitted that there was chaos but blamed it on the vehicles accompanying the cyclists. “There were several four-wheelers and two-wheelers that accompanied the cyclists from Mumbai, which were parked on both sides of the road. It resulted in congestion,” said a senior traffic policeman in the area. “A traffic PI and two constables were deployed at the finishing line,” he said.
The 152-kilometre Mumbai-Pune race, one of the longest running cycle races in the country, was started in 1946 by an Englishman posted in India during the British Raj. It is being held every year since 1980. Prior to that, the race had not been held for a few years.
The winner for this year’s edition was Dilawar Singh (Haryana) who takes away a prize of Rs 1 lakh. The first runners up was Krishna Naikwadi who would be given Rs 75,000. This time, 180 cyclists participated in the race.