Dubai: Top UAE rider Yousuf Mirza feels he is in a much better frame of mind as he sets out to continue the UAE Team Emirates aspirations as cycling got under way in Europe this week.
A consistent performer for the UAE since turning professional in 2009, Mirza had been training hard during last four months of the coronavirus pandemic in his hometown of Khor Fakkan. Now back with the UAE Team Emirates in Europe, Mirza is confidently looking forward to some action as he joins his six teammates at the 75th edition of the Circuito de Getxo in Spain’s Basque region for Sunday’s race [August 2].
“We’ve had a great training camp together in Spain for the last week and the team has got the opportunity to re-connect,” Mirza said.
“It feels good to finally get back to racing. During the pandemic, I worked hard on the indoor trainer and more recently I’ve been able to get out on the road to build my form. As a team we are now 100 per cent focussed on being very competitive at the Circuito de Getxo,” the 31-year-old UAE rider added.
It feels good to finally get back to racing. During the pandemic, I worked hard on the indoor trainer and more recently I’ve been able to get out on the road to build my form
Known as the ‘first emirati on a World Tour Team’, Mirza will be joined by Colombian teammates Fernando Gaviria and Juan Sebastian Molano, Cristian Muñoz, along with the Portuguese brotherly duo of Ivo Oliveiro and Rui Oliveiro and Argentinean Max Richeze for the one-day race to be held over a 177km route of this Basque Country event featuring two different circuits.
As it celebrates its 75th anniversary edition, the Circuito de Getxo has added three crucial factors to its 2020 race for extra awarenress, namely a new and more demanding route, a professional live television coverage and a stronger field of contestants with many new WorldTour outfits sending their best sprinters to the race.
UAE Team Emirates had got their 2020 season off to a great start while registering 13 major victories in the opening months till the coronavirus pandemic shut the world down from March.
Meanwhile, the UAE Team Emirates will reopen their season with a strong line-up at the Strade Bianche on Saturday [August 1], the first major one-day classic on the re-worked 2020 UCI calendar.
Their next challenge will be at the Gran Trittico Lombardo on August 3 followed by the one-day Milano-Torino race on August 5.
UAE Team Emirates Sports Director Marco Marzano was thrilled to face the prospect of continuing the winning streak of the team with three races on the trot this week alone. “It will be a big moment to finally return to competition after the long period away. It has been a challenging time but the riders have stayed positive throughout the break and managed to prepare very well for these first races,” Marzano noted.
“It could be an unpredictable race, but we have a number of cards to play and we hope to continue with our fine early season form,” he added.