Safiya Al Sayegh on blazing a trail for UAE women in professional cycling

Al Sayegh has become the first Emirati woman cyclist to qualify for the Olympics

In the seventh episode of the Abtal podcast, host Reem Abulleil is joined by UAE’s first female professional cyclist, Safiya Al Sayegh.

A multiple-time national champion and a time trial bronze medallist at the Under 23 Asian Championships, Al Sayegh has made rapid strides in the sport within a very short period of time.

In 2022, she signed for Team UAE ADQ to become the first Arab woman to join a WorldTour outfit. She made her WorldTour competitive debut last year, with an impressive top-35 finish at the Tour of Chongming Island in Shanghai.

Al Sayegh has represented the UAE in two World Championships and having punched her ticket to Paris this summer, has become the first Emirati woman cyclist to qualify for the Olympics.

She discussed the challenges of juggling her cycling career with her studies, what it’s been like taking the leap towards competing among the sport’s elite, her perspective on chasing goals versus dreams and getting out of a dark hole that almost stopped her from accepting the contract with Team UAE ADQ.

Al Sayegh also talked about her pride in representing her country and religion in the world of professional cycling, and tells us what it’s like donning the hijab and competing among a predominantly European peloton.

Updated: May 02, 2024, 9:13 AM