As part of its ongoing commitment to inspire the next generation of cyclists, UAE Team Emirates has partnered with Dubai-based sports activity provider Just Play, to launch the UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy.
The three-week summer cycling programme – which targets boys and girls from 11-16 years-old and starts on Sunday, July 8 – coincides with the world’s most prestigious cycling race, the Tour de France.
The coaching clinics will teach youngsters the basics of indoor cycling, using professional training bikes in a purpose built, air-conditioned studio.
UAE and Asian Road Cycling Champion Yousif Mirza was joined by teammate Vegard Stake Laengen at Dubai Sports World as the pair met the first batch of UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy participants from Sunmarke International School in Dubai.
The pair provided useful tips on technique, shared memories of cycling as youngsters, and talked about what it takes to make it to the top, before they hopped on their bikes to demonstrate just how much power is in the legs of the elite rider.
Speaking at the launch, Mirza said: “It gives me so much pride to ride for UAE Team Emirates and fly the flag for my own country, because I know that our successes on the UCI World Tour will encourage more young people in the UAE to take up the sport.
“Launching a Youth Academy program is a great way to help youngsters get into cycling and doing it indoors at Dubai Sports World means they can get fit and stay healthy even during our hot summer months.”
The daily coaching clinics are themed around the 21 stages of the Tour de France and give youngsters the chance to experience some of the same conditions faced by riders competing on this year’s tour.
The UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy will run as part of the official Dubai Sports World Summer Camp programme from July 8-29.
For more information on how to book a place on the Youth Academy visit http://justplay.ae/summercamp/
UAE Team Emirates’ young guns produced one of the team’s best performances of the season, with Edward Ravasi, Valerio Conti and Simone Petilli all finishing in the top 10 of the General Classification at the Adriatica Ionica Race.
It is the UAE’s second team win of the year after victory at the Tour de Romandie last month, which will boost confidence ahead of the Tour de France on July 7.
In the Team Time Trial, UAE recorded the second best time, whilst Simone Consonni continued his run of form by finishing second, sixth and seventh respectively in the three sprint stages.
Meanwhile, Ravasi finished fourth in the queen stage of the race, but was hit with a puncture that prevented him from maintaining a podium place in the overall General Classification – eventually finishing fourth.
UAE Team Emirates will be among the teams lining up for the inaugural the Adriatica Ionica Race, a new international race, which gets underway in Italy on Wednesday.
The five-day race has been given 2.1 status by the UCI, features some of the peloton’s best, including Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors).
One of the men the UAE outfit will be looking to for inspiration and a shot at the yellow jersey is Valerio Conti.
The 26-year-old, who finished fourth in the youth classification at the Giro d’Italia and sixth at the Criterium du Dauphine, will be supported by Darwin Atapuma, Edward Ravisi and Simone Petilli.
Meanwhile, Ben Swift and Simone Consonni, who won the opening stage of the Tour de Slovenie, also gives the team options in the sprint.
Manuele Mori completes the seven-man line-up.
Commenting ahead of the race, Conti said: “I am very motivated; I really want to try to achieve some good results for the team.
“After strenuous efforts in the Giro d’Italia and the Criterium du Dauphine, I’m trying to prepare a balanced approach to the Adriatica Ionica Race, recuperating energy but at the same time maintaining the good form I enjoyed on the roads of Italy and France.
“I’ll see how my legs respond after the first stages and then I’ll consult with the team to consider whether or not there are circumstances in place to vie for the top spots in the general classification, or if it will be better to concentrate on individual stages.”
Wednesday’s stage will be a 23km team time trial from Musile di Piave to Lido di Jesolo.