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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Al Nasr Pro Cycling Team-Dubai goes ‘from local to international’ at Dubai Tour

Al Nasr will be led by Emirati Olympic cyclist Yousif Mirza and will also feature Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania, Jesus Rubio of Spain and Luca Wackermann of Italy. The Dubai Tour starts Wednesday, writes Ali Khaled.
Al Nasr will be led by Emirati Olympic cyclist Yousif Mirza, pictured, and will also feature three European riders in Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania, Jesus Rubio of Spain and Luca Wackermann of Italy. Christopher Pike / The National
Al Nasr will be led by Emirati Olympic cyclist Yousif Mirza, pictured, and will also feature three European riders in Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania, Jesus Rubio of Spain and Luca Wackermann of Italy. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI // Al Nasr Pro Cycling Team-Dubai was unveiled to compete in the third staging of the Dubai Tour, which begins Wednesday.

They replace the UAE national team, which took part in the first two races, and with which it shares most of the Emirati riders.

“For two years the UAE national team took part in the Dubai Tour, and now it is the turn of the club to bolster the national team’s standards,” Dubai Sports Council secretary general Saeed Hareb said.

“To have the Al Nasr cycling team go from local to international level at the third edition of the Dubai Tour shows our clubs are always looking to raise their standards to higher levels.”

Read more: Dubai Tour 2016 – The National’s preview coverage and reporting

Al Nasr will be led by Emirati Olympic cyclist Yousif Mirza and will also feature three European riders in Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania, Jesus Rubio of Spain and Luca Wackermann of Italy.

Emirati riders Ahmed Al Mansouri, Jaber Al Mansouri, Majid Al Balooshi, Naser Saif Al Mamari, Ali Al Hassani and Khayam Al Balooshi are also competing for Al Nasr, along with Algerian Adil Barbari and Essaïd Abelouache of Morocco.

“This team’s main aim is to develop local talent, to produce top Emirati cyclists,” Mirza said. “Having only European riders will not develop cycling in the country.

“But having them provide experience to the local cyclists shows we are heading in the right direction. There’s no point spending resources that will not benefit UAE sports.

“The goal from Al Nasr was very clear, to produce a team that will take part in international races like Dubai Tour, Abu Dhabi Tour and Tour of Qatar.”

Mirza says there will be no home advantage for Al Nasr against an experienced professional field.

“Knowing the roads and the environment does not mean we will beat the professionals, it’s too early to say that,” he said.

“We will benefit from racing against them, and of course we will challenge them, there is no point in surrendering either.

“Always with such events in the UAE we will try and gain as much experience as possible. Year after Year we will start to challenge, first for the leading positions and then eventually to win it.”

akhaled@thenational.ae

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