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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

'It was an incredible day of cycling': Mark Cavendish wins inaugural Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Classic

The British sprinter got the better of Emirati Yousif Mirza and the UAE Team Emirates' Italian rider Roberto Ferrari

Mark Cavendish of Great Britain and Dimension Data wins the Abu Dhabi - Al Ain Classic. Tom Dulat / Getty Images
Mark Cavendish of Great Britain and Dimension Data wins the Abu Dhabi - Al Ain Classic. Tom Dulat / Getty Images

Mark Cavendish won the Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Classic, a 190-kilometre cycling event to mark the 46th National Day of the UAE on Sunday.

The British sprinter got the better of Emirati Yousif Mirza and the UAE Team Emirates' Italian rider Roberto Ferrari to win the inaugural event. The riders started from the Adnoc headquarters at the Abu Dhabi Corniche and finishing at the Al Jahili Park in Al Ain.

“It was an incredible day of cycling which was made even sweeter by the win,” Cavendish said.

“It was great to compete with such an accomplished group of riders, both professional and amateur. I always love cycling in Abu Dhabi and I can’t wait for the tour next year.”

Cavendish, the Abu Dhabi Tour ambassador, completed the race in 4 hours, 31.49 minutes, closely followed by Mirza and Ferrari.

“It was a great race from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain,” said Mirza, sporting the No 46 jersey to commemorate National Day.

“It was quite windy and on the flat that can affect the outcome of the race. The quality was really high and all the top professionals finished in the main group.

“We are really proud of the strides we’ve taken in cycling here in the UAE over the past few years, thanks to UAE Team Emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports Councils. I am so proud that we have another world class cycling event right here in the UAE.”

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Roisin Thomas of Ireland was the first female rider to cross the finishing line in 28th place followed by Natasha Leask of New Zealand, who finished 35th overall in the field of 120 riders that included both professionals and amateurs.

“This event is the first of its kind in the UAE and has created a good foundation,” said Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club.

“The quality of both the professional and amateur entries were extremely high, and we intend to build on this to become one of the UAE’s great races.

“The Classic and the Family Cycling Festival was a great way for Abu Dhabi Cycling Club to be part of the UAE’s 46th National Day celebrations. We hope that everyone who took part had an enjoyable day and hopefully it has encouraged new cyclists to try our fantastic sport.”