Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the “Bike City” label awarded to the emirate by the Union Cycliste Internationale was a "source of global recognition for Abu Dhabi and the UAE".
Abu Dhabi is the first destination in Asia to receive the distinction, which is awarded to cities and regions that not only host major UCI cycling events but also invest in developing community cycling and related infrastructure and programmes.
So far, 20 cities and regions have received the label from the world governing body for cycling, such as Bergen in Norway; Copenhagen, the Danish capital; Glasgow in Scotland; and the French capital Paris.
Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter that the label was recognition of Abu Dhabi's support for sports and wellness.
"Receiving the prestigious ‘Bike City’ label from the Union Cycliste Internationale is a source of global recognition for Abu Dhabi and the UAE," Sheikh Mohamed said.
"One of our top priorities is to promote sport and wellness, ensuring society can safely and conveniently lead a healthier lifestyle."
In conjunction with last week's announcement, Abu Dhabi announced a series of new centres and initiatives to encourage more people to take up cycling.
Planned infrastructure projects include a new 109-kilometre cycling track called the Abu Dhabi Loop and the 3,500-seat Velodrome Hudayriyat, to be built on Hudayriyat Island.
The loop will be a segregated cycle track linking key destinations across the city, while the 12,000-square-metre velodrome will host track racing.
In total, the emirate plans to extend its 300km cycling network to more than 1,000km.
Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, launched Bike Abu Dhabi – a new platform to lead the emirate’s long-term ambitions to become a leading global cycling destination.
The organisation will work on cycling infrastructure projects and foster links between three critical elements for cycling growth: mobility, health and leisure, and sport.
Bike Abu Dhabi will also organise competitions and events, including the Abu Dhabi Al Ain Classic, a one-day race open to UAE clubs and amateurs that will start in Abu Dhabi city and finish in Al Ain.
Abu Dhabi will also host the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in 2022 and 2024, and the 2028 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
The emirate has long been a centre for world-class cycling events and community cycling, with 28km of cycling track at Hudayriyat Island and 40km at Al Wathba.