Dubai will welcome some of the world’s best mountain bike riders this weekend for a pre-event race ahead of next year’s UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup season.
Supported by Dubai Sports Council, the event takes place on Friday (December 13) at City Walk with more than 27 riders from 13 different nationalities including France, USA, Germany and Sweden set to compete on a specially-built 1km track.
Among the riders to be in action are Germany’s six-time mountain bike World Cup winner, Simon Gegenheimer and UAE’s Yaser Al Balooshi and Majid Al Balushi. In the women’s category, reigning champion Marion Fromberger will headline the field.
The format will see the male and female riders split into groups of four with the fastest two advancing to the next stage.
The event is in preparation for the March 2020 Season Opener – the first leg of next year’s competition that will be taking place in the Middle East for the first time.
As part of the pre-event, there will be plenty of activities and entertainment lined up for the public including a kids zone from 10:00 to 19:00.
Speaking during a press conference today, Khalid Al Awar, Director of Sports Events at Dubai Sports Council, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this pre-event that has attracted the very best mountain bike riders from around the world.
“This Friday is very important as the riders will get an opportunity to ride on the track that we plan to put on in March. Hosting a major cycling event requires a lot of planning and by hosting this pre-event, it will provide us with the chance to make any necessary improvements ahead of the season opening race.
“I would like to thank Superfly for organising this event and Plan B for the support in helping us to deliver this event.
“Lastly, I would like to encourage the public to witness the action on Friday and support the elite riders who will be participating.”
Gegenheimer said: “I have been to Dubai several times before and it will be amazing to be racing here. The pre-event is really important as we have never faced these conditions. With many good riders will be difficult but it’s a race I’m looking forward to.”
Steffen Thum, World Cup advisor for Dubai Sports Council: “Although it’s a pre-event, there are 10 world champions participating so this shows how strong the field is.
“Not many riders will know about the conditions of what they will be facing, so this is an opportunity to get familiar and learn so it will help them when the new season begins.
“From an organising point of view, we will be able to assess the challenges and what needs to be done ahead of the World Cup race in March.”
Mohammed Khalil Al Hammadi, CEO of Superfly, organisers, said: “Superfly is excited to partner with Dubai Sports Council to bring this event to Dubai. The UAE has a rich history of hosting sporting events and together with Dubai Sports Council, we are helping promote the sport in the region.”
From left: Mohammed Khalil Al Hammadi, CEO of Superfly, German rider Simon Gegenheimer, Khalid Al Awar, Director of Sports Events at Dubai Sports Council and Steffen Thum, World Cup advisor for Dubai Sports Council.