Cycling double header attracts Oman coach
Ray Petersen –
Dec. 30: Oman national cycling coach Waleed Zemni and his technical advisor Ali al Anqoudi were interested spectators at the ‘Come and Ride’ cycling double header held over the Christmas holiday weekend.
The first event was on Friday, December 25, and was a criterion event, the first of its kind ever raced in Oman. This was held at the Nizwa Sports Complex, and was a 21-lap, 31.5-km event with a difference, where every third lap features a sprint and competitor’s points are tallied up at the finish to find a winner. Being a new format, many of the cyclists were apprehensive about the number of tight turns, at speed, in a field, however there were no crashes or incidents.
The course was referred to by Zemni as “a really good, fast course, perfect for this type of racing,” and Mohammed Awad (Annahada) certainly thought so, as along with Sczephan Pietruska (Nizwa) he broke clear on the fourth lap and stayed away. Close to the finish the two lapped the field, and Awad proved too strong for the veteran Pietruska to win the event by 4 points, 29 to 25. There was a stirring battle for third, and Mooshari Naqib and Hatim Hamdan (both Samail) shared that placing on 7 points.
Spectators were also impressed by the efforts of the younger competitors, who took part in graded cadet and junior versions. Nofel Nasser made a huge impression, as a junior, who remained competitive with the Masters cyclists throughout. It was also a good effort by the Muscat Club, to provide a clean sweep of the placings in both minor events.
The second event of the double-header took place at Tanuf, on a flat, fast, circuitous course through the local agricultural area. The Royal Oman Army was represented by their cycle team, and on the omanbicycle.com start line there was uncertainty as to who would provide the fireworks. The soldiers soon lay their cards out by attacking regularly throughout the first half of the race, at speeds averaging 40kph.
Naqib proves too strong
Mooshari Naqib (Samayil) carried forward his good form from the criterion event and proved too strong for the previous day’s winner, Mohammed Awad (Annahada), who was surprised Naqib had improved so much. Yuri Lipkov (Muscat) had been prominent throughout, and shot to the lead close to home, but for the second time over the weekend, youth came late to spoil the party for the veterans.
For both events, the organisers were grateful for the assistance of the ROP, Civil Defence and Boy Scouts for providing manpower and support. Their assistance was recognised with presentation of appropriate plaques and diplomas. Ahmed al Azawani, for the organisers officially recognised the other major sponsors, Massa Al Sham Coffee Shop, Shorfit Al Alamin Hotel, N3Dimensions, Nizwa, and the Assmood Sports Team. The final word on the weekend of cycling lay with Coach Zemni, who felt the, “concept was great, and the event was probably the best to date, in Oman.”
First race (Nizwa Sports Complex)
Masters: 1. M Awad, 29 pts, 2. S Pietruska, 25 pts, 3. M Naqib, 7 pts, 3. H Hamdan, 7pts
Cadet: 1. S Ibrahim, 2. Z Yahya, 3. M Ahmed
Junior: 1. N Nasser, 2. M Khamis, 3. A Mohammed
Second race (Tanuf)
Masters: 1. M Naqib, 2. M Awad, 3. Y Lipkov
Cadet: 1. S Ibrahim, 2. M Ahmed, 3. Z Yahya
Junior: 1. N Nasser, 2. Q Salah, 3. A Salim