France’s Titouan Perrin-Ganier and Sweden’s Ella Holmegard won the men’s and women’s races respectively as some of the world’s best mountain riders competed in the pre-event of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at City Walk, Dubai on Friday.
Supported by Dubai Sports Council, the pre-event was in preparation for the opening leg of the UCI MTB Eliminator World Cup which Dubai will host in March 2020 for the first time.
With more than 10 world champions in action on a specially-built 1km track at City Walk in front of the public, the time trial format saw the riders compete in heats of four with the fastest two reaching the next stage.
Perrin-Ganier claimed glory in the men’s category after clocking 2:17.05 in the final. The three-time world champion said: “Although it was a pre-event, all the races were really competitive and I enjoyed competing here in Dubai. The track was challenging but fun and it was really good to see so many people watch our races during the day.”
Two-time World Cup winner Holmegard was the quickest woman, crossing the finish line in 2:28.53. She said: “It was a fun course but the best part was the people watching the races. They were all intrigued and making plenty of noise which really lifted the riders. I’m looking forward to coming back in March and hopefully can win again.”
UAE RIDERS PLEASED TO SEE DUBAI ADDED TO 2020 WORLD CUP CALENDAR
Representing the UAE were Yaser Al Balooshi and Majid Al Balushi in the men’s category. Both riders praised Dubai Sports Council for giving them the opportunity of testing themselves against the world’s best at City Walk.
Yaser said: “I have been participating in the sport for three years and I was happy to have participated in front of many people in my home country. This was a great learning experience and I would like to thank Dubai Sports Council for hosting this event.”
Majid said: “My participation would not have been possible without the support of Dubai Sports Council for staging this event. It was great to have competed in an amazing location like City Walk alongside so many world class riders and I cannot wait for the race in March.”
‘PRE-EVENT TO HELP PROMOTE THE WORLD CUP RACE’
The pre-event was part of Dubai Sports Council’s strategy to create awareness among the public and gather feedback from the riders.
Khalid Al Awar, Director of Sports Events at Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee said: “I would like to thank all the riders who have participated today in what was a fantastic pre-event in Dubai.
“By hosting this event at City Walk where there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops, the riders competed not only in an amazing location with the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa but also provided an exciting spectacle for the public.
“Mountain biking is an exciting sport and by bringing it to the public is part of our plan. This event will help promote the opening race of the World Cup season in 2020 and also allow us to listen from the riders on how we can improve.”
Mohammed Khalil Al Hammadi, CEO of Superfly Extreme, organisers, said: “We saw an event that really excited the public at City Walk in what has never been done before in this location and we are delighted to have played an integral role in helping deliver a successful event.”
Harmeek Singh, founder and chief executive of Plan b, which supported the event, said: “We are very happy to have been involved in what has been an excellent event. Plan b shares the same passion as Dubai Sports Council when it comes to sports and today we saw a lot of people interested in watching the races which shows that Dubai can host any type of sporting events.”
Caption: Men’s winner Titouan Perrin-Ganier (left)
Caption: Titouan Perrin-Ganier (third left) with other riders and Khalid Al Awar, Director of Sports Events at Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (right)
Caption: Winner Ella Holmegard (centre) with other riders and Khalid Al Awar, Director of Sports Events at Dubai Sports Council and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (right)
Caption: Riders perform stunts