National Time Trial Championships 2020
With one exception, 2020’s National Road Time Trial Championship podiums looked almost identical to those of last year. TT specialist Fadhel Al-Khater (Rasen Adventure Shop) convincingly beating Abdulla Al-Khater (Team Doha Cycling) and Marwan Al Jalham (Rasen Adventure Shop) in a time of 33:31 over the 23.8 km course – an average speed of 42.7 kph.
The result was seemingly against the run of form, with Al Jalham being dominant of late; taking the National Road Race title in December and decisively winning the Rasen 6 hour Mountain Bike Marathon just last week. However, time trialing is a specialism with a different mindset, a different way of applying power to the pedals and aerodynamics is all important. Marwan conceded, “Look at his position compared with mine and you can see how Fadhel won it”.
He can take some comfort from having substantially improved his time on this course on a day in which both Fadhel and Abdulla Al-Khater were marginally down on their personal bests, in conditions which were generally felt to be less favourable than last year.
In the Open Championship, Jonathan Parker (Great Britain) took both the Masters title and the overall win. Parker is a time trialist of some renown; holding the London to Paris team time trial record and making an attempt on the 500km Taklahama Desert record last year, for which UK Charity, Cyclists for Cancer, sent their top fund raiser trophy to Qatar to be awarded at Friday’s race. Jonathan completed this Championship course in 30:46 at an average speed of 46.5kph. He beat another masters rider, Lee Jones, by almost two minutes but now we come to the exception referred to previously: In 2019 Jones took silver but on Friday was pushed down into 3rd place by Axel Dopfer (Rasen Adventure Shop), a young German rider in his first season of bike racing – a season in which he has risen from two crashes in B grade at the opening event, to now challenging the very best in Qatar.
There was some pre-race speculation as to whether an on-form Pia Sundstedt (Finland) could not only win the Women’s Championship but also knock one of the men off the Masters podium. She was ultimately content with a strong championship win in 36:20/39.4kph, finishing just outside the overall top ten with Lisa Dunne (Team Al Jassra/Ireland) 50 seconds behind the former Olympian. Dunne’s team mate, Kirsty Calman (New Zealand) completed the podium, 59 seconds behind.
Organisers, Qatar Cycling Federation were praised by competitors for their professionalism. This is the second time a national time trial championship has been held in Qatar, this being one of two premier road racing events in the calendar which contribute to both Qatari riders’ and QCF’s standing with the UCI (cycling’s governing body). The event was also the fifth in the Royal Air Maroc sponsored League with RAM National Manager, Youssef Bershid, presenting the League’s Scarlet Jerseys and the championship trophies.
National Champion – Fadhel Al-Khater (Rasen Adventure Shop)
Open Champion – Jonathan Parker
Women Champion – Pia Sundstedt
Under 23 champion – Axel Dopfer (Rasen Adventure Shop)
Masters Champion – Jonathan Parker
Veterans Champion – Neil Melville
Junior Men – Matteo Franceschi
Junior Women – Ailsa Cameron