Strong racing for National Team at Tour of Salalah
Bilal Al Saadi claimed second place at the Tour of Salalah in a racewhich marked a major improvement in strength of the Qatar NationalCycling Team.
Al Saadi, still only 19 years of age and gaining form, also takeshome the best young rider jersey after placing 5th, 3rd, 1st, and 17th oneach day of the four-stage race. After eight and a half hours ofracing, tour winner Jaber Al Mansoori (UAE) lay just 38 seconds ahead ofthe youngster, with a 2 min 8-second gap back to Mostafa Alrabie (KSA)in third place.
The tour comprised a variety of tests. The prologue was just sixkilometers and the first of two stages where Team Qatar would win theteam prize – aided by a win from Ahmed Elbourdainy, ahead of Qatariteammate Abdullah Al Jaidi, with Bilal Al Saadi in 5th place.
Stage two would be the UAE teams. They claimed it with a decisivefirst and second place which were the start of their progression to theoverall win and the overall team prize. Al Saadi explained, “We came outof the first stage with the race lead, the points jersey, and the youngrider jersey to defend. With intermediate sprints at 40 kilometers and80 kilometers, we worked together to help Ahmed [Elbourdainy] get thepoints but it was so hard in the cross-winds and UAE were smart – theydid no work and, after the second sprint, all five attacked as a team.