Elite Cycling development in Qatar gathers pace
Qatar’s National Cycling team has made leaps forward during itssummer campaign in Europe. This nascent squad, competing againstexperienced European Teams at UCI Continental level, were participatingat a higher level than most of them had previously encountered. Thisplays a big role in the riders’ development for their long-term goals,such as the upcoming Asian Games 2022, and ultimately paving the road toAsian Games 2030.
Team Qatar was based out of their Novo Mesto training camp inSlovenia. Cycling fans have marveled at the strength of SlovenianCycling in recent years, with two Grand Tour winners in Tadej Pogacarand Primoz Roglic dominant in the sport. The country, with a populationsize only that of Doha, offers terrain and facilities which are idealfor world-class cycling development. It is no accident that the WorldTour giants, Team Bahrain Victorious, also choose to be based out of thecapital city, Ljubljana. TBV honoured Qatar Cycling Federation’sSecretary General, Mr. Thani Al Zarraa, with a tour of their facilities –giving a first-hand opportunity to discover what is needed to keep ateam winning at the top of the sport.
For seven weeks in July and August, Team Qatar developed a race-craftin several local races in Slovenia, the most prestigious of which was aUCI accredited road race in Kranj. Head Coach Szymon Wasiak explains hisstrategy, “Although we came to Europe to train, we have also put a lotof emphasis on racing. We have had already a third weekend ofcompetition, gaining much-needed experience, for all, not just riders,as we have had a long break from proper international races.