(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Cycling in the UAE is becoming increasingly popular and reached another milestone recently, with the hosting of the first Emirati Cycle Challenge at Al Wathba Cycle Track in Abu Dhabi, according to a Press release.
This ride was organised by the Sultan Hazza Al Darmaki Stables and was open to Emirati social riders and featured challenges for male and female riders.
Organisers were delighted with the turnout, with 96 cyclists taking part, 23 female and 73 male, with the female riders competing over 16km, and the males over 48km.
Darmaki said: "We decided that because here in the UAE cycling is growing very quickly that we would like to encourage our young talented riders and some not so young new talented riders to take up the sport of cycling, and challenge themselves to get fit and ride in a cycle race.
"I thought that I would host a cycle challenge for the local men and women to encourage them to come out and enjoy the facilities we have. We focused our attention not at the already strong professional riders, but rather at the social and relatively ne cyclists, as there are already many races that are designed for the professional riders in the UAE . This race was to show what fun you can have at a cycle race as an amateur and that as a newcomer you too can be competitive in the sport of cycling."
The women's race was won by Shathra Ahmed Al Haijaji, with Hanadi Alkabouri finishing 21 seconds behind in second and Noor Walker taking third. The men's race was a tight finish with Mohammed Al Mazrooei crossing the line just ahead of Khaled Al Muhairi with Bader Thani in third.
Damarki added: "We are very lucky that Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, has given us this beautiful cycle track in our back garden, to use and train on.
"Our cycle track is currently 16-km long, but already Shaikh Manosur is adding more to our loop track with an extra 100 kms to open soon. Not only is the surface very smooth to ride on, but have the best solar powered lights to help us train in the cooler evening or early mornings, it truly an amazing place to have a cycle track in the desert."