RadioShack sprinters Robbie McEwen and Robbie Hunter have been confirmed to start next month in a pair of races in Mumbai, India.
The RadioShack stars will join the likes of Ted King and Tim Duggan of Liquigas and the Italian Androni-Giacottoli team in the second year of an effort to create a toe-hold in the potentially huge Indian market, race officials confirmed Wednesday.
The first race, called the Essar Tour de Mumbai, will be held February 11, with a second race, the Essar Tour de Nashik, set for February 13.
Last year, JJ Haedo won the Mumbai Cyclothon in what was the first step in a multi-year project to create India’s first international stage race. Race organizers say they plan to add an additional day to the racing program over the next few years until they can organize a multi-stage race to attract top international teams.
India, with a population of more than 1 billion people and a booming economy, offers a huge, untapped market for cycling and particularly sponsorships.
One Indian company, Tata Consultancy Services, joined the pro peloton last year with a deal to co-sponsor the now-defunct Cervélo TestTeam. Tata Consultancy Services, with revenue of more than $6.5 billion in 2010, stays in the sport as a co-sponsor of Garmin-Cervélo this season.