Cyclists begin season with Dubai Tour

Team Giant-Alpecin for more bicycles on emirates’ roads.

Riders practise for the Dubai Tour at the cycle track in Nad Al Sheba in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
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DUBAI // Cyclists from Team Giant-Alpecin expressed their excitement at kicking off the season at the Dubai Tour, and said they hoped to encourage UAE residents to take up cycling as a hobby.
Eight cyclists from the 27-member team will take part in the tour, which starts on Wednesday and concludes on Saturday.
Roy Curvers, 35, said teammates who had taken part in last year’s Dubai Tour, encouraged him to try it out himself this year.
This is my first time in Dubai, and members of the team told really nice stories about the country and about the race, so I was excited to come here, said Mr Curvers, who is from The Netherlands and has been on the team for eight years.
I am on my bike everyday in Holland, and drivers are aware that there are cyclists on the road, he said. Once you have a bike, you don’t need a gym membership and are not subjected to specific gym times, whether you want to ride at 5 in the morning or late at night.
Dubai parks with tracks for cyclists are a great start to get people cycling, he said.
Frenchman Thierry Hupond, 30, said residents should take advantage of the winter months. I don’t use my bicycle that often in France, it’s difficult during winter. Today, for example, it was snowing in France, he said. Riding a bike can have so many health advantages, including allowing the person to view the world from a different angle.
It’s different when you’re riding a bike at 20kmh as opposed to being in a car and going at 100kmh.
Mr Hupond said he was excited about the Dubai Tour, and that he was thinking of coming back to the emirates with his wife to explore the country.
For Zico Waeytens, 23, the Dubai Tour marks his first time in the emirate in his first year with Team Giants. I’m excited and maybe a little nervous being the newcomer, but the team members like me and don’t give me a hard time. I think I give them a hard time because I would do something crazy and they would say ‘oh, he’s young’, said theBelgian.
He wants people to take up cycling, which, he said, can be easier on the knees than other sports, such as running.
Luka Mezgec, 26, said cycling is a good way to ease stress, free the mind and take in some fresh air. I cycled on a mountain bike for four years, and then switched to road in 2010, said the Slovenian.
Shahriar Khojasteh, chief executive and co-founder of Dubai Desert Extreme, distributors of Giant bicycles, said: Cycling has a lot less impact than running and a lot more accessibility than swimming, he said.