THE absence of Tour of Qatar may have robbed Qatari cyclists of a top-class international competition, but the 19th GCC Road Championships, which started last Monday, would give them some much-needed exposure.
“Our riders had an extensive summer camp in Europe last year and also featured in domestic and Asian competitions. The GCC Championships are an important event for us. It’ll give them the opportunity to compete with riders from the region,” Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation (QCTF) President Dr Mohammed Al Kuwari told Doha Stadium Plus.
The tournament will end on Friday, with men’s Elite Class being the last event.
Qatar have fielded a 10-member squad in the elite, junior and cadet categories. Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait are the other competing nations.
There will be individual time trial in all three classes on Wednesday while the road competition will be held on Thursday.
“The tournament will also help us promote a healthy lifestyle through the sport. This has been our target,” added Al Kuwari.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s first-ever 24-hour mountain bike race will be held on a specifically-designed 11km circuit at a private farm in Umm Jurn on Friday.
“It’s the first 24-hour bike race in Qatar. We’ll do something similar next year in road cycling,” said Rasen Sports’ Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani.