MULTIPLE Tour de France stage winner Erik Dekker triumphed at the Al Adaid Desert Challenge last week.
The Dutchman clocked 1:11:39sec while New Zealand’s Roman van Uden (1:14:53s) and France’s Frederic Gombert (1:22:59s) came second and third at the international cycling union-sanctioned event.
“It was a tough race, but I loved the challenge. I broke from the pack three kilometres after the start near the first dune, where I had to wait for Van Uden since it was a long way to ride alone for 30 km, but then realised I was much faster on the dunes,” said 46-year-old Dekker.
Doha-based Finn Pia Sundstedt won the women’s event, which was organised by the Qatar Cyclists and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and Qatar Tourism Authority.
The gruelling off-road event started from Sealine and finished at Khor Al Adaid, Qatar’s most impressive natural wonder ‘Inland Sea’, where riders negotiated six dunes along the 38.6km course route.
“It was a special event for Qatar as it was held in one of our iconic locations in the desert,” said Qatar Cyclists President Dr Abdulaziz Al Kuwari.
A total of 31 Qataris took part in a separate event, with Mubarak Al Ajji winning the title. Saleh Al Mohannadi and Ahmed Al Subaey came second and third respectively.
Meanwhile, the Qatar Cycling Federation will host the 19th GCC Championships from March 13 to 17.