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Pedal power in the spotlight at first Abu Dhabi Tour

posted on 30/09/2015: 1333 views



The Abu Dhabi Tour is taking spectator participation to a different level with cycling enthusiasts and fans being able to join a parade with the professional cyclists on the last day of the four-day race, organisers announced.

"Abu Dhabi Tour is a professional cycling tour and will finish in a big parade with the professional athletes joining families and fans,” said Nico de Corato, a spokesman for the event.

More than 140 cyclists will complete 22 laps of Yas Marina Circuit for the last leg of the race, before finishing in what is expected to be an energetic, flat-out sprint.

"The last stage, which will finish here at Yas Marina Circuit, will give people the chance to join the parade on their own bicycle alongside the professionals,” said Mr de Corato.

The celebration will take place after competitors are pushed to their athletic limits in a gruelling journey over 555 kilometres in four days.

Cyclists will embark on the first leg of the race in the desert, beginning in Madinat Zayed and finishing in Qasr Al Sarab, riding a distance of 174km. The second stage will begin at Emirates Palace in the capital, where competitors will cycle 129km along the Corniche, Salam Street and across Al Maqta to pass the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and finish at Zayed Sports City.

The third day will take racers to an uphill challenge in the mountainous region of Al Ain, beginning in Al Qattara souq and progressing 142km uphill to Jebel Hafeet. The final stage is the 110km around Yas Marina Circuit.

"It's gruelling, it's a lot of work and it needs stamina and consistency,” said Mohammed Mubarak, 33, from Abu Dhabi. "It really takes commitment.”

The Emirati, who came second in the desert triathlon challenge last year, said that the professionals would inspire him to train harder.

"I cycle 50km every day in Al Wathba, but these guys, they are professionals, and I really will enjoy seeing them,” he said.

However, the tour will be more than just a competition. Bringing the sport to Abu Dhabi will raise awareness about cycling and, hopefully, get more people on two wheels, said Roisin Thomas, a professional athlete and personal trainer.

"Hopefully this will promote the sport. Anyone will know that physical activity is good for the heart,” she said. "But cycling is a bit special, because you can progress really quickly with cycling.”

The triathlete said that the sport easily got people hooked, as they begin from a three-gear bike and progress to a more enthusiast level. The event will also draw attention to Abu Dhabi's cycling community.

"It's a huge opportunity for Abu Dhabi to showcase its biking culture,” the Irishwoman said. "There are so many great places to cycle here and this is putting it in the spotlight.”

Edward Strick, a public relations manager for Fun Ride Sports, the company that will be renting out bicycles for people at the event, said cycling was a good sport for everyone and emphasised the importance of the tour.

"An event [like this] makes people aware of how beautiful cycling is,” he said. "Let me tell you, for us, you don't always realise how beautiful the UAE is – on a bike you can see life from a different angle. There are untold stories on the road – the smells, the sights – and events like this will get more people on bikes.”

In the Abu Dhabi Tour, which takes place on October 8-11, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council will be hosting 18 teams from around the word to race in the inaugural staging of the event. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/pedal-power-in-the-spotlight-at-first-abu-dhabi-tour

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