Abu Dhabi: Elite cross-country mountain bike riders will be in action at the inaugural edition of the Hero Abu Dhabi Championship to be held from February 9 to 11 at Al Hudayriat Island.
Set to take place at Trail X, a state-of-the-art mountain biking facility, the championship will also attract amateurs, and bike enthusiasts. It will also mark a significant milestone with the inclusion of the XCO-Cross-Country Olympic and XCC-Short Track events — qualifying races for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The XCO circuit spans 5.4km with an elevation gain of 70hm, while the XCC Short Tracks, designed for high-speed action, covers 1.2km with an elevation gain of 10hm. Meanwhile, mountain biking enthusiasts of all ages can participate in the Amateur Race and Kids’ Race, competing on the very same trails as potential future Olympic medallists.
Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, emphasised the significance of Abu Dhabi hosting the upcoming global event, noting that it would be the first of its kind in the Middle East, on Al Hudayriat Island. “Abu Dhabi Sports Council supports hosting and organising the event, which witnesses the participation of an elite group of international cyclists, out of our belief in its importance and impact on influencing a healthy lifestyle, at a time when cycling is witnessing a major boom in Abu Dhabi in particular and the UAE in general.”
Among the participating cyclists is Peter Sagan, three-time road cycling champion, who said: “This will be my first year as a professional mountain biker. I’m intrigued to see how things will pan out. I won’t predict anything, but I feel optimistic: I’m motivated, I want to have fun and give it my all. It’s supposed to be an incredibly technical race, so I’ll arrive a few days before the race to train on the tracks.”
The event is organised by Hero Sudtirol Dolomites and Modon.