ABU DHABI // Clad in black cycling gear and, of course, a helmet, Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), joined hundreds of cyclists at TrainYas on Tuesday.
Sheikh Nahyan, accompanied by a group of officials and British cycling champion Mark Cavendish, attended the free weekly event to promote the capital’s inaugural cycling event, the Abu Dhabi Tour.
On his lap of Yas Marina Circuit, Sheikh Nahyan said he was forced to work harder by cycling partner Cavendish, who is Abu Dhabi Tour’s ambassador.
“It was very nice, I liked it, and the champion was riding right next to me. He was pushing me too hard,” said Sheikh Nahyan.
In addition to sharing the course with VIP riders, visitors were given free Abu Dhabi Tour merchandise such as orange cotton T-shirts, Castelli cycling tour jerseys and water bottles.
The promotional event raised awareness of tomorrow’s four-stage professional cycling race.
The public is invited to cheer cyclists along the route and to join a parade on the last day – Sunday – at 5pm, at the F1 Yas Marina Circuit Events Centre. “It’s fantastic recognition for the Abu Dhabi Tour that, before it starts, is already blessed by his Highness,” said Lorenzo Giorgetti, chief executive of RCS Sport, which is organising the event with ADSC .
“It’s a very important sign that the Abu Dhabi Tour is a very important event for Abu Dhabi and we get the support from the highest level, and we are very, very happy to see it coming.”
Recreational cyclist Ahmed Ali, who pedals around the circuit every Tuesday with friends, said the Abu Dhabi Tour was helping to spread awareness of the importance of physical fitness.
“It’s good because it’s promoting exercise and workouts,” said Mr Ali, an Emirati, who also participates in endurance horse races.
“We need to acknowledge for the people that you have to work out, and you have to do exercises, because it is a culture.
“Once you create a culture by doing such events, it promotes the awareness among the people.”
Michel Jost, a Swiss national who is also a regular at TrainYas, said cycling promoted a sense of belonging among people of all cultures.
“It’s great. It brings people together. It’s a healthy way to meet people and it brings health awareness to the whole population,” he said.
The 555-kilometre Abu Dhabi Tour starts in the Rub Al Khali desert in the Western Region.
Abu Dhabi Media, publisher of The National, will broadcast the race live.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
(via The National)