World cycling championships to be held in Qatar, a first for the region
More than 1,000 cyclists from 75 countries will battle for a coveted rainbow jersey during a competition in Qatar in October.
The UCI Road World Championship will run from Oct. 9 to 16, and this will be the first time in its 95-year history that it will be held in an Arab country.
The week-long competition will feature around a dozen events, including individual time trials, team time trials and road races in junior, under-23 and elite categories for men and women.
Roads will be shut during the event, but organizers told Doha News that proposed closures were still being approved by authorities.
One of the highlights of the event will be the elite men’s road race on Oct. 16.
The grueling 257.5km route starts at Khalifa International Stadium in the Aspire Zone and finishes near the Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel on the Pearl.
It goes through the northern districts of Doha before taking the cyclists out of the city, past Al Khor, and then south by the under-construction Lusail City before crossing onto the Pearl.
Cyclists must then undertake seven 15km laps of the island.
Meanwhile, the women’s elite road race, due to be held the previous day on Oct. 15, will take a shorter route of 134.5km.
It starts from Education City and then heads through the northern districts of Doha and finishes with seven laps on the Pearl.
The starting line for the men’s and women’s team time-trials, scheduled for Oct. 9, will be the Lusail Sports Complex. The 40km route will wind south and finish with one lap of the Pearl, according to details on the organizers’ website.
This week, local organizers Doha Cycling 2016 began seeking volunteers to work at the event.
“Volunteers are such a vital part of the success of this event. They are part of the present and future of Qatar’s commitment to sport,” Doha 2016 chairman Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al-Thani said in a statement.
“We look forward to welcoming each and every one of them as they create a memorable Championship for Qatar and the rest of the world.”
Qatar already hosts the Tour of Qatar, which takes place every February. This year, a total of 18 teams took part in the grueling event.
Briton Mark Cavendish donned the final golden jersey with his overall time of overall time of 13hr, 47mins and 23 secs for the 625km route.
The championships, organized by the world cycling body Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), are held annually, usually in late summer.
However, this year’s event is being held later due to the Olympics and to avoid the Qatar’s summer heat.
Unlike other events, cyclists compete in national teams for the team time trial.
The winners of the senior individual time trials and the road races become world champion. They are entitled to wear the rainbow jersey during the following year.
Who’s going? Thoughts?