News | People's Choice Classic & Santos Tour Down Under • October 27, 2019
UAE TEAM EMIRATES YOUTH ACADEMY IN FULL SWING AS STAR RIDERS VISIT ABU DHABI SCHOOL
As part of its ongoing commitment to inspire the next generation of cyclists, riders from the UAE Team Emirates cycling team visited Al Rabeeh School in Abu Dhabi during their end of season camp in the UAE. Alexander Kristoff, Fernando Gaviria, Yousif Mirza, Tadej Pogacar and Jasper Philipsen were joined by over 100 enthusiastic students as they delivered a series of coaching clinics and a Q&A session.
The UAE’s first ever Olympic cyclist, Yousif Mirza said: “Every time I come back to the UAE I see the progress that’s being made. This is a project we are extremely proud to be a part of and the team is working hard to discover these new riders and inspire more and more children to start riding. It’s great to see so many Emirati kids on bikes and who knows, maybe one of these guys could be representing the UAE in bike races in the future.
Yousif’s meteoric rise to success has been an inspiration for many young people growing up in the UAE and now he actively supports the UAE Team Emirates Youth Academy, which has been set up to help develop the next wave of homegrown talent.
Fernando Gaviria added: “I have seen cycling grow and grow in my home country and this year we finally had a Colombian winner of the Tour de France. This has been so inspirational for kids so I know first-hand how important our job is, as riders, to encourage the next generation from the UAE to take up the sport. Being a part of the Youth Academy has been fun – I love seeing so many children learning to ride.”
Launched in 2018 exclusively for school children living in the UAE, the cycling initiative has engaged over 500 children across 14 schools, 85% of which have been Emirati. Sessions are individually tailored to the ability of the children with the goal of growing the sport and promoting a healthier lifestyle. The academy teaches youngsters all aspects of the sport from bike familiarization to group riding and technique.
It was a record season for the team with 29 victories and 65 other podium finishes with standout performances from star riders Tadej Pogacar, Alexander Kristoff and Fernando Gaviria. They now have time to relax and recharge their batteries before reconvening in Spain for their pre-season training camp in December ahead of the 2020 season starting in January.