In India, the idea of creating new sporting platforms in order to grow an audience saw resounding success with cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) competition and has since been followed by similar forays into the worlds of football (soccer) and tennis. But, can the same thing be done with cycling?Students attending the EMBA program at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School certainly think cycling has a vast potential audience among India’s expanding middle class. They’ve been working on giving the development of the Tour de India a change of gear, as part of a consulting project and experiential learning component within Cambridge Judge’s EMBA program:“We honestly believe that the market timing is correct for a cycling boom in India,” said Rav Seeruthun, who has been leading a team assembled from his EMBA program cohort. “You have a burgeoning middle class in India, who now see it as a health exercise, which is great – particularly with diabetes and obesity prevalent in the population.”Tour de India offers inroads into business culture for EMBA program teamThe Tour de India was launched in 2012, and gained recognition from cycling’s international governing body, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) the following year for the second and most recent edition of a three-city tour with stages in Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur.After forging links to the rights’ holder for the Tour de India - Enso Group and its healthcare subsidiary, Ensocare - Seeruthun and his fellow students at Cambridge Judge journeyed to India last fall to work on the event’s strategic aims. There they became convinced that packaging the event as one of public engagement, akin to a city marathon, would be a better approach than a competition purely aimed at elite athletes. To back this up, the team will return to India – outside of their EMBA program commitments - to take part in the Tour de India’s 2015 edition.Away from sport, the biggest lesson for the team was one of cultural understanding. Having already visited China with the rest of their cohort at Cambridge Judge, the team found that the culture of doing business in India isn’t nearly as comparable as those who tend to bracket ‘emerging markets’ together suggest.“The biggest takeaway for us was that every culture is different; doing business in India is nothing like doing business in China,” Seeruthun cautions.