Al Balooshi tops Elite Class, Qatar's Khalfan finishes second
17 Mar 2017 - 22:10
By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula
Majid Al Balooshi of the UAE stormed to a commanding win on the final day of the GCC Road Cycling Championships.
Al Balooshi topped the 117.2km race in a time of 2:48.10. Qatar's Musa Khalfan secured the second spot to bring delight in the home camp as the region's top cycling championship came to a close. Khalfan registered a time of 2:48.43 to claim the second spot.
The Qatari finished ahead of Abdulhadi Alajmi of Kuwait. Alajmi clocked a time of 2:48.47. Jaber Al Mansoori of the UAE finished in fourth spot (2:48.50) while Nasser Al Amri of the UAE completed the top 5 in the Elite Class.
A total of 16 riders completed the race that saw light drizzle making slippery roads a bit tough to negotiate.
Regional cycling giant Yousif Mirza finished in 7th spot.
"It was a tough race on a windy day. But we have a good team and we controlled the race well today. The credit for my win goes to the entire team,” Al Balooshi said.
Khlafan second position was the only victory for the 10-member hosts team.
“Yes, it is a good win for Qatar. The conditions were tough. We were racing amidst light drizzle at the start and cross-winds,” Khlafan said.
“I'm very happy, because in the crosswinds, I was the last to make it into the lead group and it felt a bit like a headwind at the finish. So I had to go from a long way back in the sprint," he said.
In the team classification, UAE riders finished top (8:25.50) while Bahrain (8:38.53) ended in second place. Kuwait (8:39.07) grabbed the third spot.
The four-day event was organised by Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF).
"It was an exciting period of competitions the past four days," Jamal Al Kuwari, the QCF Secretary General, said.
"UAE riders have done exceptionally well. They have a good side. Musa Khalfan did well on the last day," he added.
Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF) president Dr Mohamed Al Kuwari also felt that Qatar team is not strong right now.
“Moosa won a good race today. But I feel we had a strong team in the past, but this time we are not that strong. UAE riders are very good and they have dominated the races, but we have some plans for our team and hopefully we will have a good team in the coming years,” said Dr Al Kuwari, while watching the riders at the finish line.