Spectacular battles expected as UCI Road Worlds kick off today

 09 Oct 2016 - 12:28

Spectacular battles expected as UCI Road Worlds kick off today

The Peninsula

DOHA: Three Qatari riders will carry the hosts’ hopes as the prestigious UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 flags off at Lusail this afternoon.

The Men’s and women’s 40 kilometre Team Time Trials will flag off at Lusail today. The local stars, Abdullah Afif, Jassim Al Jabri and Farhan Farizi will be seen in action during the world class event, along with a host of champion riders.

For 30-year-old Abdullah, taking part in the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 is a dream come true. He joined the team at the last minute, following a groin injury to Ahmed Elbourdainy. The rider said he would make the most of the opportunity given to him.

“Since July, I had been training with the Qatar national team in Europe. But honestly, my appearance at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 is quite unexpected. Personally, this is a great opportunity for me and I promise everyone to do my best,” said the senior rider.

Abdullah will compete in the Elite Men’s Individual Time Trial on October 12. Qatar national team coach Tareq Ismaili, himself a former rider, was pragmatic and said that while the Qatari riders are not as experienced as the world’s best riders, they will be aiming to perform well on home soil.

“People should understand that competitions at this level are very tough. Europe has a long and rich history in cycling and it’s very tough to beat riders from that continent. But having said that, Abdullah has been training for some time in Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. I’m sure he’ll fight hard to put up a competitive show,” he said. Jassim, who is 18 years old and has been a member of the Qatar national team since 2013, will compete in the Junior Road Race (October 14). He promised to learn as much as possible from being part of such a major event.

At 17 years of age, Farhan Farizi is the Qatar national team’s youngest member. A late entrant into the sport, he has bloomed in recent times. His Farhan’s event, the Junior Individual Time Trial, will be held on October 11.

The Doha 2016 course is divided in two main sections.

The teams will encounter the flat, straight road between Lusail and Doha city, ideal for the squads to work as genuine trains.

In the women’s Team Time Trials, the opening event of the day.

The six women that form each team will have to duly coordinate their effort. Since the fourth rider is the one to clock the team’s time, the squad can only drop two elements before reaching the finish line.

The TTT is a relatively new addition to the UCI Road World Championships programme; it was only included in 2012. Its four women’s editions have been won by the team run by Velocio Sports SLU in its different incarnations: Specialized-lululemon (2012-2014) and Velocio-SRAM (2015). 

Velocio folded its professional cycling team last winter. Its Sporting Director Ronny Lauke set up a new squad named Canyon-SRAM that has on its roster several of the riders that conquered the TTT Road World Championships in previous years, such as Germany’s Lisa Brennauer or Belarus’ Alena Amialiusik.

After placing in the runner-up spot last year at UCI RWC Richmond 2015, Boels-Dolmans has excelled this season in the art of team time trialling.

Later on, in The Pearl, harmony will be based on bike-handling abilities and gradual acceleration efforts to avoid wearing out its elements. After all, teams here are formed by six riders and it’s the fourth one who clocks the squad’s time on the standings. Defending men’s team champions, BMC Racing Team set the UCI RWC TTT as a real goal three years ago, commissioning its then-rider Marco Pinotti to become a coach with the sole task of making the team excel in this type of race. 

All in all, the spectacular event promises to provide maximum entertainment for the spectators along the Qatari roads from today.