UAE cyclist Yousif Mirza hopes his ability to ride in hot temperatures will serve him well in Saturday’s men’s road race.
Mirza will be the first UAE athlete to compete in Rio when he lines up alongside the likes of Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali.
The 27-year-old, who has battled back from a serious motorcycle accident in 2015 to make it to his first Olympics, is sure his experience of riding in the hot climbs of the Middle East will give him an advantage over some of his competitor, which temperatures expected to reach around 30°C Saturday.
He said: “It’s a circuit that’s hard, up and down. I will be training on that course for nine days, which I think is enough. The weather is hot also, similar to our weather. I will be better, because my body has been all the time in that weather.
“In the last 100 kilometres of the race, we’ll go in a circuit with five laps. In that, there’s one big climb. It’ll be a big challenge for all riders, not only me.”
Mirza has spent much of the summer training in Europe alongside some of the riders that will be racing against him in Brazil to gain valuable experience and hone new tactics and techniques. He also cycled with Swiss sprint legend Fabian Cancellara this week.
He added: “I’ve trained some multitude of stages in Europe.
“In Europe, it’s very different. It’s a different level, a high, professional level. That’s what I need to try.
“In Europe, you race with the same riders you’ll race against in the Olympics. That’s good for our technical team.”