KARACHI Five foreign and nine Pakistani teams will be seen in action in Asias longest 1674-kilometer 11-stage Tour de Pakistan International Road Cycle Race which will start from Peshawar on March 1 and terminate at the Mazar-e-Quaid Karachi on March 13, secretary Pakistan Cycling Federation Idrees Haider Khawaja announced here at a media briefing on Saturday. The PCF official, who talked to the media in the presence of President of Sindh Cycling Association MM Mehdi, said that the teams from Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Nepal and Afghanistan have confirmed their participation. Each of these nations will enter six peddlers and three officials in the competition, which carries US $ 10,000 in prize money for the top six finishers. He said the PCF had successfully held 14 such races in the past and hoped that the 15th edition would also be organised successfully. He said there was no main sponsor for the race which would cost around Rs 4 million to the federation and hoped that the PCF would manage the funds on its own and said the provincial governments of NWFP, Punjab and Sindh have assured help in providing boarding and lodging to the cyclists and its supporting staff when the race passes through their jurisdiction. He said that he held a very fruitful meeting here with the secretary sports Sindh Shoaib Siddiqi on Saturday and requested for provincial help in the conduct of the race when it enters Sukkur on March 10. Shoaib Siddiqui, he said, was helpful and assured that the cyclists and the supporting staff would be guests of the provincial government. Their boarding and lodging and security in the province would be looked after by the provincial government. He said that he had recently asked Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for help who had directed all the officials to look after the race when it passes through the province of Punjab till its exit at Rahim Yar Khan. The NWFP government had already promised similar kind of support to the race, he added. He said as many as 78 cyclists would be supported by scores of technical staff during the race. He said the PCF was aware of the huge financial commitment for the successful completion of the race and hoped despite having no main sponsors, the federation would be able to complete the race which would only bring good name for the country. The race was all about testing the athletic abilities of the participants but it also helped in creating bonds of friendship between the provinces through which it would be run. The PCF had tried to maximize participation of Pakistani participants so that they had international exposure. Keeping this view, he said the PCF had decided to include nine national teams. Each province will enter one team each and there would be team from FATA of six cyclists each. Other teams would come from Army, Pakistan Railways, Wapda and Sui Southern Gas. All the arrangements to hold the race had been completed. The most important arrangements of keeping race safe were involvement of traffic and Highway police. The top officials of police and Highway police have already assured complete cooperation, he added. The race would be flagged off at Peshawar on March first from the front of PC hotel. The NWFP governor Owais Ghani will give the start and the Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ibad will receive the team at Karachi on March 13. The first stage of the race would be held between Peshawar to Rawalpindi (distance 158 Km), the second stage will be run from Rawalpindi to Gujrat (153Km) and the third stage from Gujrat to Lahore (115Km). The rest day will be March 4. The fourth stage would be run between Lahore and Sahiwal (160Km), fifth stage Sahiwal to Multan (154Km) and sixth stage Multan to Bahawalpur (90Km). Seventh stage of 200, the longest distance will be run between Bahawalpur to Rahim Yar Khan. March 9 will be the second rest day. Eighth stage would be between Rahim Yar Khan to Sukkur (178Km), the ninth stage between Sukkur to Moro (150KM), 10th stage Moro to Hyderabad (163KM) and the final 11th stage between Hyderabad and Karachi (153km) will be run on March 13, he added.