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Tour de France win highlights UAE's cycle-friendly track record

reporters@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 21, 2020 | Last updated on September 21, 2020 at 07.22 am
Tour de France, win, highlights, UAE, cycle-friendly, track record

(Picture retrieved from Instagram)

There are as many as 1,508 routes to take and with this level of interest, the biking is at its best.

The triumph of the UAE Team Emirates, with its rider Tadej Pogacar winning the Tour de France, is a true recognition of the popularity that cycling has gained in the UAE. Only last month, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, set the pace by wheeling across the city and underscoring the exponential growth of the cycling culture in the Emirates.

Efforts are underway to make Dubai bicyle-friendly. Last month, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, had directed the authorities concerned to improve the emirate's infrastructure to suit bicycle riders.

One person who is absolutely delighted with Team Emirates' victory is Andy Fordham, a resident of Dubai who has organised over 350 cycling events and been the Race Director for the Sheikh Zayed Road Run in Dubai last year, where a massive 77,000 people took part.

Reacting to the end of the 20th day of the Tour, he said: "This win will do wonders for the UAE's credibility as a cycling venue in the world. There was a time when the cycling world was skeptical about it working out in these parts, but that is no longer the case. As it is, there would be about 8,000 to 10,000 regular enthusiasts for this sport in the country ready to take on over 400km of cycle track."

There are as many as 1,508 routes to take and with this level of interest, the biking is at its best.

Dubai plans to extend its vast network of cycling tracks to 647km by 2025. The classic 86km Al Qudra Cycle track takes riders through the Al Qudra desert and is considered to be top of the range. There also super runs at Meydan, Jumeirah Road and District One. The family oriented 32km Mushrif run is located within the park and is marked by cafes and restaurants.

The cycle track at Nad Al Sheba has been converted from a camel track and is located near the Meydan racecourse and offers three exhilarating rides at different distances.

There are also very attractive and viable runs that include Khawaneej and Warqa.

In Abu Dhabi, a Dh106 million investment has given a major impetus to the sport. The Yas Marina circuit and the twin loops of the Al Hudayriat Island are only two of several tracks.

The 96km long Al Wathba track is seen as one of the best rides in Abu Dhabi and offers several loop options from a beginner's run to the whole distance and is open round the clock.

With so much going for cycling in the UAE, the sport has no spoke in this wheel, that's for sure.


Staff Reporter

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