x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Road closures to make way for world triathletes

Roads will be closed for the event around the Sheikh Khalifa motorway, Yas Marina Circuit, Mina Street and the Marina Mall junction.

ABU DHABI // Motorists have been warned of road closures as hundreds of athletes take to the capital's roads and waters for the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on Saturday.

Roads will be closed for the event around the Sheikh Khalifa motorway, Yas Marina Circuit, Mina Street and the Marina Mall junction.

The race will start with a swim near the Emirates Palace hotel, followed by a bicycle ride along the Corniche to Saadiyat and Yas islands and back, and finishes with a run on the Corniche.

The first wave of athletes will start at 6.40am, and the last athlete is expected to finish just after 9pm.

They will swim 3 kilometres, cycle 200km and run 20km. There will be races over lesser distances for other entrants.

The Sheikh Khalifa motorway inbound from the Yas Island West exit will be closed to traffic from midnight on Friday and reopen at 7pm on Saturday.

The Yas Island East junction will be open, but access to Abu Dhabi will be on the Dubai road only.

Access to the hotels on Saadiyat Island will be from the central junction only on the Dubai-bound carriageway of the Sheikh Khalifa motorway.

Local diversions will be in place and traffic under police direction.

To the east of the city, the bike route passes over the Saadiyat Island and on to Yas, and includes the Formula One circuit.

Local roads around the Yas Marina Circuit will be closed between 2am and 3.30pm, with diversions in place. Access to hotels will be maintained on the contraflow. It will not be possible to get to them through the tunnel.

The Mina Street junction, inbound towards the junction of the Corniche and Khaleej Al Arabi street, will close between 5am and 7pm.

This year's route for running is the same as last year, finishing on the public beach.

The Marina Mall junction, to and from the Heritage Village and the flagpole, will be closed between 5am and 9pm. There will be parking at the public beach car park near the Hilton hotel.

The route has been designed to ensure all athletes experience the very best Abu Dhabi has to offer.

Newcomers can tackle the "short" course at half the lengths of the full triathlon, or a sprint course that is a quarter of the distances.

"I've read some good write-ups about the Abu Dhabi triathlon - that's why I'm here," said Bryan McCrystal, 31, from Dundalk, Ireland, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday. "They've been doing a great job and I expect them carrying it on until Saturday."

One of the world's leading triathletes, McCrystal has participated in events in South Africa, Europe, Spain, Germany and other countries for the past four years. He has been doing at least 15 triathlons a year.

Last year he finished second in the Estonia Tristar 111 race and seventh in a stacked field at the Ocean Lava Lanzarote half-ironman distance triathlon.

He won first place in the 2010 men's TriAthlone Olympic in the 25 to 29 age group.

Last year, Belgium's Frederik van Lierde won the race in 6 hours 43 minutes 14 seconds, while Britain's Julie Dibens was the first woman to cross the line in 7hr 14min 23sec.

"I don't have a chance up there but I'll see how I'll do with the best," McCrystal said.

rruiz@thenational.ae