Qatar riders are all set to show their mettle against their regional rivals in GCC Road Cycling Championships which will be held from March 13-17 around Doha.
This is a major event on the domestic cycling calendar as more than 150 riders from across the region will feature in the 19th edition of the championship.
Qatar is fielding a 10-rider team in the elite, junior and cadet groups. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait are the other participating nations.
“Our riders have been preparing well for this event. They had an extensive summer training camp in Europe last year. After that they featured in numerous events at the regional and Asian level in the winter. I would say our riders are full of confidence,” Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF) president Dr Mohamed al-Kuwari said, while addressing a pre-event press conference.
“It’s true that team from the UAE is strong. They have good riders but at the same time I would say Qatari cyclists are in very good form. We are confident they would do well,” he said.
There will be a technical inspection on Monday with the actual races starting on Tuesday. The Team Trial is on Tuesday in the Youth, U-23 and Elite classes.
On Wednesday, there will be the Individual Time Trial in all three classes. The road competition will be held on Thursday, across all the three classes.
Friday, March 17, is reserved for the biggest contest of the event - when the Elite Class will compete against each other.
“We will be competing in all the classes. It is a very important tournament. We are pleased to be in this position as we give our riders the chance to compete against the best in the region,” al-Kuwari said.
“At the same time, QCF also gets the chance to stage a quality event and take the message on cycling and healthy living all over the country and the region,” he said.
Q-Auto are the official sponsors of the event.
“We are happy to have our sponsors - Q-Auto, the official Volkswagen dealer in Qatar - backing the championship. We thank them for their support,” al-Kuwari said.
“This is a championship for the amateurs and the professionals to compete side-by-side. We are thrilled to be a part of this championship. We are honoured to be supporting this championship. We are pleased to be a part of such a top-class event and to support Qatar’s great sport ambitions,” Q Auto general manager Ahmed Shariefi said.
Q-Auto joined the QCF when Qatar staged the UCI World Road Championship last year.
QCF general secretary Jamal al-Kuwari said, “This is an event we have been preparing for quite a while. Our riders have trained well and feel confident. We expect them to do well with positive results.”
Sheikh Abdulla al-Thani of Rasen Sports was also present during the press conference.
*Abdullah Salem Afif – Individual Time Trial + Road Race
*Adbelrahman Selem Jarboua – Road Race
*Mossa Khalfan Said – Road Race
*Khaleel Alrehman Abduljanan – Road Race
*Khalid Elbardiny – Road Race
*Mohamed Farhan al-Farizi – Road Race
*Khaled Saber G Hammouda – Road Race
*Mohamed Eihab Abougabarah – Race Race
*Naif Alaa I Baltaji – Road Race
*Bilal Haitham A Alsaadi – Road Race
Coach: Aziz Merzoug
18:00 – Licence control
19:00 – Team managers’ meeting
08:30 – TTT Cadet (23 kms) - Losail
09:30 – TTT Junior (34.5 kms) – Losail
10:30 – TTT Elite (46 kms) – Losail
09:30 – Road Race Junior (69 kms) Losail
08:30 – ITT Cadet (11.5 kms) - Losail
09:30 – ITT Junior (23 kms) – Losail
10:30 – ITT Elite (34.5 kms) – Losail
08:30 – Road Race Cadet (34.5 kms) – Losail – Katara - Losail
13:00 –Road Race Elite (101 kms) – Losail – Katara - Losail
(From left) Sheikh Abdulla al-Thani of Rasen Sports, Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF) president Dr Mohamed al-Kuwari, QCF general secretary Jamal al-Kuwari and Q Auto general manager Ahmed Shariefi address a press conference yesterday. PICTURE: Jayaram