DOHA: With only one month to go to the historic UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016, cycling legend and Doha 2016 Ambassador Eddy Merckx believes the event will be an unforgettable experience.
“Doha deserves to host the UCI Road World Championships,” said the Belgian cycling legend, who first came to Qatar fifteen years ago and has watched cycling develop at a rapid pace in the Middle ever since.
“Qatar was the first country in the Middle East to organise a professional cycling race. The country developed rapidly over the past decade. Each year I got back and each year there were new roads, new buildings.”
The UCI Road World Championship Doha 2016 will be the first World Championships held in the Middle East, an historic event that will see 12 titles of UCI World Champion awarded across Elite, Under-23 and Junior categories. Each of the 12 races will finish at Qatar’s flagship development, The Pearl.
Merckx, who has a total of 525 victories as a professional cyclist (1978-1965), says the UCI Road World Championships are a perfect showcase for Qatar.
“Cycling is the best sport to show the features of this country, because the television spectators will get to see a lot of the impressive desert landscape and the beauty of the city of Doha.”
The Belgian legend believes that Qatar will continue to play a critical role in the competition and training schedules of the world’s best cyclists each season.
“Doha is beautiful and it’s an excellent place for professional riders to get in shape for the Spring Classics. The climate is nice in January, when it’s often too cold to train or race in the rain and snow in Europe.”
Merckx is the only rider to have won all five monuments (Milan–San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris–Roubaix, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, and the Giro di Lombardia), all three Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España) and the UCI Road World Championships.