Hatta MTB Trail Centre will play host to the second HERO Dubai Hatta
Hatta MTB Trail Centre will play host to the second HERO Dubai Hatta Image Credit: Supplied

The hills of Hatta will be buzzing on Friday morning as the biggest stars of international mountain bike scene compete at the Hatta MTB Trail Centre for glory in the second HERO Dubai Hatta.

Supported by Dubai Sports Council, HERO Dubai Hatta is part of the HERO Series and the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) mountain bike race in the Arabian Peninsula. This year, it has attracted cyclists from more than 40 countries, including the sport’s top champions.

The HERO Dubai Hatta – one of five international cycling competitions hosted by Dubai annually - further boosts Dubai’s rising profile as a venue for international cycling and mountain bike races. The race, billed as the “Desert Fascination”, also supports the government’s strategic plans to develop Hatta and enhance its appeal as a world-class tourist and sports destination. Dubai Sports Council is keen to organise international events in Hatta to increase awareness of the area’s natural beauty, biodiversity and picturesque mountain environment as well as encourage the culture of sports.

“Hosting HERO Dubai Hatta is aligned with the Hatta development plans of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who recently approved new projects which aim to support development in Hatta and enhance its position as one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the country and internationally,” said Khalid Al Awar, Director of Dubai Sports Council’s Sports Events Department.

“It is also aligned with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, to transform Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city and strengthen its position as the world’s most preferred venue for international sporting events.”

A high-octane sport event, HERO Dubai Hatta offers participants an opportunity to compete in an exclusive location, with the two routes for the race winding their way across sandy dunes and rocky tracks. The ‘long’ 6km route for the UCI Marathon Race offers and elevation gain of 1,600hm, while the shorter 18km race, (three loops of a 6km circuit) offers a 270hm elevation gain.

The starting line for HERO Dubai Hatta 2021 will boast some of the most important figures from the international mountain bike scene, including current World Champions, Ramona Forchini and Leonardo Paez. This is Forchini’s first opportunity to cut her teeth on the routes of one of the HERO Series stages. Paez, on the other hand, knows the HERO like the back of his hand; he has won the BMW HERO Südtirol Dolomites a good six times and was also crowned winner at the HERO Dubai Hatta’s first edition in 2020.

Many other elite athletes have also confirmed their presence at the 2021 HERO Dubai Hatta. The women’s race will see Forchini race against Ariane Lüthi, the current UCI Marathon world ranking leader, and Lithuanian Katazina Sosna, winner of the 2021 BMW HERO Südtirol Dolomites who finished second in Hatta in 2020.

Among the men, Martin Stosek from the Czech Republic - the current leader of the UCI Marathon world ranking and a bronze medallist at lasts year’s UCI MTB Marathon World Championship – is certainly one to watch alongside his compatriot Kristian Hynek, who finished second at the 2019 World Championships.

Fans will also be keeping an eye out for German Andreas Seewald, winner of the 2021 BMW HERO Südtirol Dolomites, and Swiss Urs Huber, winner of the 2021Andalucía Bike Race.

The HERO Dubai Hatta 60km race will be flagged off at 7am on October 29, while those taking part in the 18km race will be at the starting line at 7.20am. The award ceremony will take place at 9.30am, with the top three men and women in the following categories being awarded: Elite (60 km), Club or Federation members (60km and 18km), Amateurs/non members (60km and 18km).

The HERO Dubai Hatta Kids race will take place on Friday, October 29 on a dedicated route inside the Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Centre. Open to children between the age of 4 and 14, the race, which starts at 10.30am, will be an opportunity for children to compete alongside the sport’s biggest names.