Nicola Boem lead home an all-Italian breakaway group to win stage ten of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday (19th May).
UAE’s Skydive Dubai continue to take the Asian cycling scene by storm as the team pulled off an impressive one-two in the second stage of the Tour of Japan on Tuesday.
Tunisian Rafaa Chtioui and Spanish veteran Francisco Mancebo finished the 130.7km stage first and second respectively to shoot to the top of the General Classification.
Chtioui, a former World Junior Championship silver medallist, has clocked 3:10:06 and crossed the finish line 15 seconds ahead of his team-mate Mancebo.
The talented North African has a 20-second advantage over Mancebo in the GC while Drapac Professional Cycling’s Adam Phelan is one second behind in third place.
“It was a tough stage with steep climbs and a very hard final kilometre,” Skydive Dubai team manager Ricardo Martins told Sport360.
“Tour of Japan is one of the most important events on the UCI Asia Tour circuit. So it’s a huge achievement for us being in the lead.
“Rafaa is also the points classification leader while the Skydive Dubai is the leader in the teams classification.
“It’s another achievement this season where we’ve already had 18 wins, stage wins, classification wins – stage, mountain, youth and team – as well as tour victories.”
The Emirati outfit have indeed had a successful 2015 thus far with Mancebo winning the Tour of Egypt in January, Chtioui taking three stage wins – in Gabon and Japan, Soufiane Haddi triumphing in stages in Egypt and Morocco as well as other achievements from Edgar Pinto, Andrea Palini and Vladimir Gusev.
Martins is particularly impressed by the team’s achievements so far, especially with this being just their second professional season.
“A year and a half ago I was far from imagining that we would have 15 victories in the first season and in this second season already with 18,” said the Portuguese.
“All the 16 athletes from our team are having amazing performances and our Emirati athletes are showing significant performance and technical improvement.”
Stage three of the Tour of Japan will see the riders start and finish in Mino, completing 139.4km over six laps.
Yousif Mirza’s status for September’s UCI Road World Championships is in serious doubt after the UAE cyclist suffered multiple injuries in a motorbike accident on Sunday night in Jumeirah.
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Mirza was rushed to Rashid Hospital in Dubai after coming off his bike near roadworks and breaking bones in his arms and shoulders.
He underwent surgery for six hours on Monday (19 May) and will have a third operation on a fractured ankle on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old has qualified for the Road World Championships, held from September 19-27, as well as the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
While Mirza’s injuries shouldn’t stop him from competing in Brazil, UAE cycling team manager Abdulla Suwaidan claims doctors don’t believe he’ll be ready for the World Championships in Richmond, USA.
recover quickly captain uae yousif mirza.. pic.twitter.com/WXb8GN6bdn
— agungbayuPA (@bayuphysicalth1) May 18, 2015
“The doctors say it would be at least two or three months before he can recover,” Suwaidan said.
“For Rio, he should be ready. They don’t think it will affect him too much for the future, but for the World Championships, he can’t be ready. The doctor promised though he’ll be back on the bike, but not before two or three months.”
A day before the accident, Mirza, the UAE’s No1 cyclist and ranked No6 in the Asia Tour rankings, had helped Al Nasr to gold in the President’s Cup.
“What happened was, in Jumeirah, he was going to have dinner with his friends. There was a signal and I think he lost his balance,” Suwaidan added. “There was construction work and he crashed with the barrier on the road. Then the bike came on his body.”