Over 2,000 cyclists took part in the ninth edition of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge weekend with over 230 cyclists coming from outside of the UAE.
Cyclists took part in either the LOOK UCI Gran Fondo, the Spinneys Dubai 92km Cycle Challenge or the Oakley 53km Challenge and over 200 young cyclists took part in the Junior Rides as the cycling culture in the UAE continues to grow.
The annual Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019 and the event has continued to strengthen its offering for all cycling enthusiasts over the years.
Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General Dubai Sports Council, said: “The Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge is a key event in the UAE sporting calendar and the number of cyclists taking part from Dubai and elsewhere highlights how popular the sport is and how the cycling community has grown over the years here in the UAE.
“The atmosphere this morning was thriving and none of this would have been possible without the support from Dubai Police, the RTA and the Dubai Ambulance Services – organising this event is a big challenge given all the logistics involved and thanks must go to everyone.”
The younger cyclists also had the opportunity to be part of the biggest cycle challenge in the Middle East. The Prime Medical Junior Rides took place on Thursday at the Dubai Autodrome, with over 200 young cyclists participating in the event.
This year also saw the return of the Mini Challenge, the balance bike course was open free of charge for children aged between 2-5 years old and is the innovative way of learning to ride a bike, with children focused on balancing rather than pedaling and as a result they are more prepared for an unexpected loss in balance.
The McLaren Group has set its sights on becoming “the best in professional cycling” after securing a 50 per cent stake in UCI WorldTour team Bahrain Merida.
McLaren said it wanted to bring its expertise from Formula One and other sports to cycling, working alongside the Bahrain Merida team which was formed in 2017 and is home to 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali.
“Racing, technology and human performance are at the heart of everything we do at McLaren,” McLaren’s chief marketing officer John Allert said.
“Cycling is something we have been involved with in the past and have been looking at entering for some time.
“It is a completely natural fit for our skills and our ambitions and a perfect partnership with Team Bahrain Merida who have the right vision and approach for the future.”
The deal was announced on the same day that Sky said it would end its investment in professional cycling at the end of 2019, leaving the future of Team Sky in doubt.
McLaren, who worked with Team GB ahead of the London Olympics and recently collaborated with American manufacturer Specialized on bike design, said its partnership with Bahrain Merida would focus on technical collaboration, human high-performance, and marketing and commercial services.
Bahrain Merida general manager Brent Copeland said: “McLaren has been raising the bar for technological innovation and sport performance for decades.
“The combination of our passion and vision for Team Bahrain Merida to be a winning team, with McLaren’s expertise and dedication, is the perfect partnership.”
Sky will end its involvement in cycling in 2019 after more than a decade of backing.
The decision will bring to a conclusion Sky’s ownership and sponsorship of Team Sky, which will continue to race if a new backer is secured by 2020.
The team will compete as Team Sky for the last time during the 2019 road racing season.
Team Sky Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “While Sky will be moving on at the end of next year, the team is open minded about the future and the potential of working with a new partner, should the right opportunity present itself.
“For now, I would like to thank all Team Sky riders and staff, past and present – and above all the fans who have supported us on this adventure.
“We aren’t finished yet by any means. There is another exciting year of racing ahead of us and we will be doing everything we can to deliver more Team Sky success in 2019.”
Team Sky have won 322 races including eight Grand Tours, 52 other stage races and 25 one-day races after starting their sponsorship in 2010.
Two years later Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France, with Chris Froome claiming the first of his four Tour titles in 2013.
He was the first rider in more than 30 years to hold all three Grand Tour winners’ jerseys at the same time.
In the summer Geraint Thomas became the third Team Sky rider – as well as the third Briton – to win the Tour de France, the team’s sixth success at the race in seven years.