DOHA: With less than two weeks before the start of the historic UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016, the local cycling season has officially begun.
Over 120 elite and beginner riders, including men, women and children, have taken part in the season-opening individual time trial race — the Rasen Adventure Store Time Trials — next to the iconic Lusail International Track.
The competitors pedaled hard to cover the 11.5km route in the shortest possible time. Among the men, Poland’s Szymon Wasiak proved to be the fastest, finishing the circuit in 16 minutes, 23.60 sec.
Great Britain’s Dave Nichols (16:34.35) and Spain’s Aday Alvarez Diaz de Ulzurrun (16:52.19) were second and third respectively.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Julie Melville won the women’s race in 19:14.76, ahead of compatriot Jennifer Geluk (19:34.70) and Spain’s Isora Sosa Cabellero (19:40.05).
Szymon Wasiak, founder and head coach of the Qatar Cycling Academy, was pleased with his title-winning show.
“I had just returned from a two-month vacation and this was my first competitive event in some time. I’m really happy with my performance. I had been training in Poland, but the climate there is far different from what we have in Qatar. So I am really happy I could acclimatise fast and win,” he said.
Wasiak said he was looking forward to the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016.
“It’ll be fascinating to see how riders from around the world adjust to Qatar’s conditions. For many, it will be a new challenge. The UCI Road Worlds promises to be a thoroughly engaging competition,” he said.
Julie Melville said she was happy to have been able to keep her promise to her daughter. “My daughter just turned six. In addition to a Team Sky jersey, I had promised her I would win the local time trial race. It was a good feeling to be able to keep that promise. The race wasn’t easy, but I enjoyed the challenge.”
Julie could not wait for the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 to begin, as it was also ‘very close to home.’
“My husband is helping in organising the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016. So for my entire family, it is quite personal. If the 2016 Road Worlds can do for Qatar what it did for other organising nations in the past, the sport in this country will be revolutionised,” she concluded.
The UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 commence on 9 October, with eight days of exhilarating racing to follow. Each race will finish at the iconic The Pearl-Qatar.