We give you your national champions
For the second National Road Race Championships taking place inDukhan last weekend we returned to the course of the inaugural eventwithout apology, as we find in Dukhan the most interesting andchallenging terrain in Qatar. There are a couple of main climbs butthese are coupled to frequent changes of direction, so riders makingtheir attacks know that they won’t have to fight the wind for too long,but those using the wind to their advantage can split the pack andconsolidate their gains. One change from last year was the loss of theDukhan Water Sports Club as event HQ but the palm-lined main street ofDukhan town proved a more than fitting backdrop as the leaders swungthrough a series of roundabouts into the home straight. It’s a routewith the capacity to discover worthy champions and so it proved.
Your 2020 National Road Race Champion is Marwan Al Jalham. Marwan(Rasen Adventure Shop) edging out Abdullah Al Khater (Qatar NationalTeam) with Mubarak Alaji (Rasen Adventure Shop) taking bronze some nineminutes adrift of the leaders. Between them, the podium claimed 15,000QAR worth of prizes provided by the event’s main sponsor, The Master’sMedical Centre.
As we have noted before, Marwan has undergone a transformation sincehis second place last year. Time under the coaching of Szymon Wasiak anda summer of mountain bike racing have produced a much stronger rider.It is only unfortunate that reigning champion Fawaz Al Shammri wasunable to defend due to injury, as three or more Qataris at this levelcould really give spectators something to shout about.
The National Championships races are run along nationality and agegroup lines rather than the usual ability categories. This not onlygives Qatari nationals their own race from which to derive motivationfor their training but its the same for expats and older riders. KhalifaAl Khulaifi (Team Doha Cycling) is the Qatari Masters Champion andNasser Mubarak (Q-Tri), second in the same race, is the VeteransChampion.
The Expat Championship also went with the form book with MoroccanMouchine Rhaili’s win. The interesting factor in that race being thepresence of Jonathan Parker. Jonathan as Paris-London team record holderis known as a formidable time trialist and he used that strength topull the field apart. He is not known as a sprinter though and in otherraces he has paid the price of work on the front when it came tofinishing. On this occasion, he was left with only Mouchine andGuillaume Soutter (Team Al Jassra) to beat and Jonathan had inflictedenough hurt and could acquit himself well enough in the sprint to getsecond place.
From the biggest field of the day of the expat masters/veterans itwas again just two riders coming to the finish with a 1:15 gap.Frederick Feliciano (Rasen Adventure Shop) beat Enzo Fascintato (LosGauchos) in that contest. Andrew Beer is Veteran Champion, beating allhis rivals in the bunch sprint behind the two leaders.
No Qatari women took part this year which, with the growth in women’scycling, is something in which we can hope and expect to see changeover the next twelve months. With some of the regular expat protagonistsout of action, there was a small field but one which opted to raceagainst each other rather than be embedded into the master’s race. Thestrongest of these, former Olympian Pia Sundstedt, only faced oppositionfrom Isora Sosa Caballero (Team Doha Cycling) but ultimately outclassedher on the run in to the finish. Sondra Hope claimed bronze in a sprintwith Daniela Sposi (TriClub Doha) and Lisa Dunne (Team Al Jassra).
- Marwan Al Jalham (Rasen Adventure Shop) – 1:58:42
- Abdulla Al Khater (Qatar National Team) – +0:00
- Mubarak Alaji (Rasen Adventure Shop) – +9:07
- Abdulraman Al Jaber – +11:33
- Rabay Ghasab – +11:38
- Mouchine Rhaili (Team Doha Cycling) MAR – 1:52:45
- Jonathan Parker GBR – +0:00
- Guillaume Soutter (Team Al Jassra) FRA – +0:02
- Bilal Al Saadi (Team Doha Cycling) SYR – +1:02
- Jamison Carino (Bike to Work Qatar) PHI – +1:02
- Pia Sundstedt (Rasen Adventure Shop) FIN – 1:23:00
- Isora Sosa Caballero (Team Doha Cycling) ESP- +1:22
- Sondra Hope RSA – +9:53