UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar powers to win Stage 15 of the Tour de Ferance
UAE Team Emirates has launched the 'Champions Challenge' to celebrate Tadej Pogacar's Tour de France success in September. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: UAE Team Emirates have launched a ‘Champions Challenge’ to encourage UAE residents of all ages to pick up their bikes, get outside and start cycling and recording their activity over the next two weeks.

The challenge comes after the success of the team in this year’s Tour de France where Tadej Pogacar, the 22-year-old Slovenian, officially became the youngest ever post-war winner.

Cycling fans in the UAE are encouraged to ride 36.2km, the length of Stage 20 of this year’s Tour de France, to honour Pogacar’s individual time-trial triumph that took him to first place in the General Classification in his first-ever Tour.

The challenge, which will run until November 28 (Saturday), is a fun, fully inclusive and free competition where people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and gender are invited to cycle, take pictures, videos and and log their activities using the Inphota platform in a bid to win attractive prizes.

Tour de France winner and UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar said: “The past few months have been a whirlwind; winning the Tour was amazing and I am happy to be a part of such an amazing team. We have had a very successful season and I am exceedingly proud that I can play my part to help inspire people and grow the sport of cycling in the UAE. I know first-hand how important our job is, as riders, to encourage the next generation from the UAE and challenges like this can really help do that.”

Kids are encouraged to complete the Stage 20 distance in their own time over a number of days during the two-week time slot, while adults are tasked to complete it in one in the quickest time possible. People who don’t have any cycling equipment are able to rent a bike and helmet for free at Yas Marina Circuit, Zayed Sport City and Al Hudayriat Island.

The UAE’s first-ever Olympic cyclist and UAE Team Emirates rider, Yousuf Mirza fully backed the initiative: “It’s amazing to be a part of a team that is so committed in inspiring young children from my home country. I fell in love with cycling because it was something I could enjoy with my friends and family - I just loved riding my bike and being involved in initiatives like this makes me very proud.

“Since the team was formed, I’ve seen the number of kids on their bikes here go up and up each year, all with huge smiles on their faces. The weather is perfect at the moment and I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s results.”

Participants of the Challenge will be able to upload images and videos and track their activity over the course of the two weeks using the Inphota app and be in with a chance of winning a range of attractive prizes including a signed Tour de France yellow jersey by Tadej Pogacar, cycling helmets, caps, gloves, bottles, team jerseys and replica T-shirts.

The challenge builds on the work already done by the UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy, which was launched in 2018 exclusively for schoolchildren living in the UAE.

The cycling initiative has already engaged over 1,500 children across 25 schools and contributes to the team’s goal of growing the sport and promoting a healthier lifestyle in the UAE.

The Challenge can be joined by registering on the Inphota website.