Photo Feature: Trackside in Jaipur by Jonas

Photo Feature of the 2021 Track Nationals by Jonas Spinoy, as he spent his time trackside which were held in Jaipur, Rajasthan in December…

Jonas shares a bunch of memories captured through his lens, from what he describes as gladiators in a Roman Arena!

My love for tracks started in January 2019, when the Jaipur Velodrome came alive with hundreds of athletes from all states for the Track Nationals Championship. Amongst them, we met a handful of super talented cyclists from the Indian Track Junior Team. They were training under Mr RK Sharma, in a newly developed Elite track program. Esow Alban, aged 17, at that time had already been making history, winning India’s first Cycling World Cup Medal. He along with team mates Ronaldo Singh, David Beckham & Rojit Singh, set the Tempo for one of the most thrilling 5 days of cycling I had ever seen.

Last week most of them (except Esow, who was out with injury) were back in Jaipur for the 73rd Track Nationals. This time the stadium was freshly painted and the track repaired. Thanks to the local “Team Rajasthan Road Riders” hard work and relentless efforts over the last couple of months, the velodrome looked absolutely stunning. Like a phoenix rising from its ashes. With the 5 day racing schedule happening over the Christmas holidays, I only got to see a few events.

My coach and ITT National Champion, Naveen John, was there to participate in the Individual Pursuit. A format with two cyclists starting the race on opposite sides of the track. Those qualifiers were nail biting. Ronaldo and David Beckham put on a great show once again, with spectacular sprint wins and new National Records. Unfortunately, this time I missed out on most of the women’s races. Which are as thrilling if not more than the Men’s.

It is exciting to think about the future of Indian Track Cycling. If the junior team continues to perform at international events, it will open up avenues and motivate younger athletes to follow in their footsteps. The sport needs champions to keep the velodromes alive. And for the first time this December, the Jaipur track felt like a Roman Arena.

Enjoy these captures from the 2021 track nationals…

2021 Track Nationals in Jaipur, Rajasthan
The concrete track of the Jaipur Velodrome is 333.33 metres long. The width is generally between 5 to 7 meters and a 333 meter track would bank around 32 degrees. 
2021 Track nationals Individual Pursuit
December ’21 Jaipur Track Nationals Qualifiers.
6 times ITT National Champion Naveen John was there to participate in the 4K Individual Pursuit. A format with two cyclists beginning the race on opposite sides of the track. Unfortunately NJ did not make it to the final round for the podium, he finished 13th in a very competitive field at the end of a very intense Cycling Calendar. 2021 had 2 sets of Track and Road Nationals Championships to make up for last year’s cancellations.
2021 Track Nationals. Naveen John in action
For those who wonder what the Marking system of the velodrome means,  it goes like this:
1. The Wide Blue line on the inside of the track is called “The Cote D‘Azur“. Riders are not allowed to race there.
2. 20 cm above the inside of the track  is “The Black Line“. It defines the length of the track, in this case 333 metres.
3. The Red is “The Sprinter’s Line“. The area between the red and the black line is the optimum racing line.
4. The Blue “Stayer’s Line“ serves in Stayer races as a separation line. In Madison races the secondary team rider “rests“ here until his partner brings him into the action. 
2021 Track Nationals Men's Sprints
The Men’s Sprints. A one-on-one match race between opponents, who unlike in the Individual Pursuit start next to each other.
2021 Track Nationals, Points Race.
The Points Race is a spectacular Mass Start involving a large number of riders simultaneously on the track. A sprint is held every few laps and points are awarded to the top 4 finishers in each sprints. 
2021 Track Nationals
Mr. Bhim Singh Dahiya – Mechanic of the National Track Cycling Team. Travels with the lads everywhere and is their one man (read superman) technical support crew.

Standing here next to a Sprint Track Bike. A track frame is optimized for racing at a velodrome with fixed gear, no brakes and emphasis on rigidity. The tyres are narrow and inflated to a high pressure to reduce rolling resistance.

And a few photos from 2019: Blast from the Past…

Deborah Herold is a Tsunami Survivor from Andaman Nicobar. She is a 500 metres Time Trial Specialist.
She is the first Indian cyclist to feature on the UCI Rankings of any Cycling discipline. A biopic movie about Deborah’s life starring Jacqueline Fernandez is supposed to be made this year. She was meant to try and qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games but with the pandemic and the Games being postponed to ’21 her training schedule took a toll and she’s apparently back to the Andamans on a break.
I was hoping to see her at the Tracks this December, hope she gets back into the sport this year.
Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam is from Manipur.
Young rising star from the Indian Track team along with Esow and Manipur teammates.
A 1Km Time Trial Specialist, he was here in the Jaipur velodrome again this December, looking at least 10 kg heavier! A result of the intensive strength conditioning camp that the National team did in Portugal last year.
He’s the real superstar of the Indian Track at the moment. Won gold for his state and once again broke and set new National Records.
Looking forward to see his performance in the next Asian Games!
17 years old Esow in January ’19.
Esow Alban is probably one of the only Indian cyclists who’s name was mentioned along with teammates in “The Cycling Podcast“, one of the finest podcast for the serious amateurs of the sport.
Part of the team that won India’s first Cycling World Cup Medal at Junior Level! Esow did not come for the 73rd Track Nationals in Jaipur because of a injury from a fall during his training camp. His next challenge will be to stay on top of his game and bring home some medals, competing in the very challenging elite category. 
Team Manipur getting ready to break a National Record in the Team Time Trial, January 2019. Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam, Rojit Singh Yanglem and Keithellakpam James Singh.
Esow warming up before the qualifiers, Jaipur January 2019.
Warming up properly before a sprint effort is essential for a Top Performance!
The intensity of the effort clearly visible on the faces on the racers

Text & Photos: Jonas Spinoy/ Jaipur Cycling Club

Also read about the MTB XC Nationals by Anuj Kalmane and DH Nationals by Prajwal Pingali.

One Reply to “Photo Feature: Trackside in Jaipur by Jonas”

  1. Good progress in competitive cycling. One looks forward to the day when cycling becomes a part of normal life, not just a sport or passion for those who can afford it.

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