Some of the leading mountain bikers of the world were supposed to have taken part in the weekend event in Dubai. Image Credit: Getty Images

Dubai: The 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup season-opener, scheduled to be held in Dubai this weekend, have been postponed until further notice - ostensibly due to the rising coronavirus scare.

Scheduled to take place for the first time in the Middle East this Friday (March 6), the race, supported by Dubai Sports Council and Superfly Extreme, had attracted more than 30 elite mountain bike riders from over 10 countries including the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UAE.

The action was supposed to start from 4 pm and among those scheduled to compete in the men’s category at City Walk was French rider Hugo Briatta, who topped the competition in 2019 following his three victories in the six-round event. Also scheduled to line up was three-time reigning world champion Titouan Perrin-Ganier, six-time mountain bike World Cup winner Simon Gagenheimer and former European and 2018 champion Jeroen Van Eck.

The women’s category too had attracted a field of several national and world champions, including last year’s winner and world champion Gaia Tormena alongside three-time Swedish champion and 2019 runner-up Ella Holmegard, third-placed Marion Fromberger (Germany) and French riders Coline Clauzure and Margaux Borrelly.

The elite field was scheduled to compete on a specially-built 1km track close to the shops and restaurants, with the backdrop of Burj Khalifa. The short-course cross-country Eliminator (XCE) format was to see the riders compete in different stages after being split into groups of up to four and the fastest two participants qualifying to the next round.

“Please be informed that the event taking place on March 6 has been postponed until further notice. You will be updated with the new dates as soon as possible,” read an announcement from the organisers.