The 2019 Ooredoo Ride of Champions – The annual event organized by Qatar Cyclists with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Qatar Cycling Federation – has once again proved a huge success, as 1500 champions from all ages and nationalities took part in its third edition on Friday. ProTV was the associate media support services provider for the event.
Cycling enthusiasts from all over Qatar, including public figures and top diplomats, gathered in the ceremonial court and the adjacent green spine at Qatar Foundation to celebrate their favourite sport, breaking the previous record of 1100 participants, set during the 2017 edition.
The one-day event encourages members of the community to practice sport and lead healthy lifestyles, through taking part in one of six cycling rides that caters to all ages and levels of experience, before celebrating as champions on the podium at the end of each of them, enjoying a number of entertainment shows and getting a chance to win valuable prizes from the event’s partners & supporters.
The first edition of the Ride of Champions, took place in 2016 as a support event for the UCI World Road Championships, hosted by Doha, and since them it became the most awaited annual event for cycling enthusiast in Qatar, thanks to the safe environment it provides for everyone to enjoy this sport.
In a breath-taking scene, the ceremonial court was covered with the red, orange and maroon colours of the official jerseys worn by the participants who started to arrive to the area in the early hours of the day to get ready for the three big road rides. Official Supporter of the event, Rasen Sports, provided free maintenance services to all participants at its booth, in addition to rental service for bicycles, which was also available at Qatar Cyclists’ booth, as the organizers aimed to attract the greatest number of participants to try cycling, even if they never owned a bike.
The first ride kicked off at 6:30 a.m., as the mostly- experienced cyclists went on a 137.5 km ride. Ten minutes later, it was time for the 78-km ride, which was more convenient to less experienced cyclists. The third ride, with a 48-km route, was the perfect choice for cyclists who want to take their first steps into a more serious approach to road cycling. The route shows off the beauty of both Qatar Foundation but also Qatar’s fantastic vistas of desert, showcasing the country’s sports tourism potentials to earn the support of the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC). It is also challenging enough to win praise from the event’s strategic partners Qatar Cycling Federation.
All rides were led by official cars from the Ooreedo Ride of Champions Official Partner, Alfardan Group and were escorted by the Traffic Police motorbikes.
Light rain and strong winds did not affect the number of participants in the three big rides, which exceeded all expectations, with more 1000 cyclists taking part in them. The Traffic Police were greatly commended by event organizers, as they put in great efforts to ensure the safety of the riders.
From 8:00 a.m., all eyes were on the green spine which hosted events for kids. The first of them saw the participation of 14 youngsters and their close friends, representing the Best Buddies Qatar initiative, established in 2008 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser to contribute to the integration of people with moderate or mild intellectual and developmental disabilities in education, workforce and the community in the State of Qatar. Qatar Cyclists provided bicycles for all the kids taking part in this ride.
The second was a 1-km ride, open for kids aged between 3-8 years old, and it saw a big turnout as registration was still open during the event, and with Ooredoo, Title Partner of the Ride of Champions, gave away more than 70 bicycles for the kids taking part in the ride to provide them with an unforgettable experience.
Next, it was time for the Family Ride, the most popular ride of the event, as it gives all family members an opportunity to take a 5.8 km tour together inside the premises of Qatar Foundation on bicycles.
Adib Mansour, an Indonesian expat, who participated in the family ride alongside his wife and two kids, said: “We really enjoyed the Ride of Champions today, the organization was perfect. It was our first time in this ride, but the kids already eagerly awaits next year’s edition. They had a lot of fun.”
This year, many companies supported the event and raised the awareness of both their employees and the members of the community to the great benefits of practicing sports.
Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), Official Partner of the Ride of Champions, organized a unique challenge for its listed companies, to encourage them to promote sports and healthy life styles among their employees. QSE will present an award to the most active company during this year’s event, based on the number of participants from each company.
Meanwhile, Dolphin Energy, Official Partner of the Ride of Champions, encouraged its employees and their family members to take part in all the rides of the event, as part of the company’s belief in the positive effect of practicing sports and taking part in social events, on their employees and the whole community.
With riders crossing the finish line of all the rides, it was time for celebration at the ceremonial court with their family and friends, as they received their participation medals and enjoyed the light snacks provided by the organizers, or one of the healthy choices available at the Torba Farmers Market.
Rayyan Water, provided more than 11 thousands bottles of water at several points in the ceremonial court and along the different routes of the rides.
The day ended in spectacular fashion, with some lucky participants receiving valuable prizes from the event’s Official Partners and Supporters; Turkish Airlines, Alfardan Group, Rasen Sports and Garmin Lingawi.
Ms. Manar Khalifa Al-Muraikhi, Director PR and Corporate Communications at Ooredoo, commented: “Once again the Ride of Champions proved to be a great success, and one of which we are very proud. To see so many people from different nationalities and cultures, of all ages, coming together to participate in their favourite sport was a wonderful sight. The Ride of Champions plays a huge role in both promoting cycling as a sport and raising our community’s awareness of the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle. Ooredoo is firmly committed to supporting initiatives that benefit the communities in which we operate, in line with our corporate responsibility strategy, and we are pleased to be helping Qatar in its progress towards Vision 2030.”
The success of the 2019 Ride of Champions is a result of years of hard work from hundreds of volunteers at Qatar Cyclists Center, who played a huge role in promoting cycling among all members of the community in Qatar, through organizing numerous weekly activities and community events.
Dr. Abulazziz Al Kuwari, President of Qatar Cyclists Center, commented: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude for each and every one who made the 2019 Ooredoo Ride of Champions a huge success. When we launched Qatar Cyclists initiative in 2014, we were confident that we can promote our beloved sport among all members of our community, but what we have seen today exceeded all our expectations. We were honored today to meet more than 1500 champions. It’s a dream coming true.”
“We appreciate the effort put in by Qatar Cyclists team today to ensure the success of the event, and we promise everyone that the next editions will even be more successful. Cycling is a beautiful sport and is easy to practice. Qatar Cyclists provide anyone interested in giving cycling a try with a safe environment to practice it and also the advice of highly experienced coaches. We welcome everyone to join any of our various weekly events and enjoy the numerous benefits of practicing this sport.”
The organizers have also announced plans to further develop the Ride of Champions in the upcoming few years.
Mr. Ali Al Kuwari, Managing Director of the Ooredoo Ride of Champions, commented: “What we have witnessed today in Qatar’s biggest cycling festival make us extremely proud, and we would like to thank all the champions who took part in our five rides today, and of course all our sponsors and partners for their support to the event, without them it would have not been possible to achieve all this. Also, special thanks to the volunteers who put in a lot of effort to provide a memorable experience to all the participants.”
“We have big plans to further develop the Ride of Champions in the near future. We aim to get a UCI Gran Fondo status for the road rides, while for the family ride, our goal is to have more than 3000 participants and make it the biggest community cycling event in the region,” he added.
Mrs. Machaille Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation, said: “It’s an honor to have partnered with Qatar Cyclists to host the 2019 edition of the Ooredoo Ride of Champions.
“We’re delighted to have welcomed more than 1,500 cyclists, along with their families and friends, to Education City. This event catered to people of a variety of ages and abilities, ensuring that there was something on offer for everyone. Ultimately, through our support for the Ooredoo Ride of Champions, we are helping to promote the importance healthy and active lifestyles to the wider community in Qatar, which is a key focus of Qatar Foundation’s efforts,” she added.
Ms. Sara Fahad Al Fardan, Communications and PR Manager of Alfardan Group commented: “Supporting community event is at the core of Alfardan Group’s social responsibility strategy, particularly when it is associated with initiatives that encourage our community to adopt sports as a way of life. We were pleased to provide logistical support to more than 130 volunteers during the event, in addition to supporting the road rides. It was also an enriching experience for us to award the little children as well as the adults, by providing them with exciting prizes and a memorable experience. The Ride of Champions is a one-of-a-kind event and we are glad to have partnered for the noble cause.”
Mr. Fahad Al Suwaidi, Public Relations Manager of Qatar Stock Exchange, commented: “Our partnership with the Ride of Champions this year makes us absolutely proud, it’s an amazing event that helps to develop our community, and we were glad to use it as an incentive for the employees of the QSE-listed companies to practice sports and lead healthy lifestyles, through taking part in our Corporate Challenge. We will announce the winning companies and honour them soon.”
Mr. Mehmet Zingal, General Manager of Turkish Airlines in Qatar, commented: “As one of the fastest growing airlines, we are delighted with our first year of partnership with the Ride of Champions. We have presented some great prizes to the participants, riders and volunteers. It is a great event that brings all people together and we are aiming to bring the world to the most amazing destination in the region, Doha. Turkish Airlines keeps connecting Doha to the World by presenting its unique high-quality service to its passengers.”
Dr. Mohamed Jaham Al Kuwari, Qatar Cycling Federation President commented: “We would like to thank Qatar Cyclists for their huge efforts to promote cycling in Qatar, and of course for this amazing event which introduce a lot of people to the benefits of riding a bicycle and also gives us an indication of the popularity of this sport in the country. We can already notice an increase in the number of cyclists going professional and joining the official competitions of the federation, which is a proof of the growth this sport is seeing and the bright future that awaits it thanks to the continuous support of our wise leadership and the Qatar Olympic Committee.”
2019 Ooredoo Ride of Champions Facts & Figures
Quotes from Official Supporters
Mr. Rashid Abid, General Manager of Garmin Qatar at Lingawi Trading commented: “Our company is proud to once again support an event organized by Qatar Cyclists, we have already achieved great success together in the past during many events. Our products are already very popular and is used by nearly most cycling enthusiasts in the world. We provided various prizes to the spectators and participants to help them monitor the progress of their health and fitness using the latest technologies and in a professional manner.”
Mr. Cameron Marchand, Concept Manager at Rasen Sports, commented: “Cycling is quickly becoming the most popular individual sport in Qatar, we can see that through our booming sales in the country. We recently opened a new store at Salwa Road to meet the growing demand, especially with more and more cyclists taking part in the ever-increasing professional races. Today we provided maintenance to the bicycles of the participants, besides some great prizes, it is the least we can provide to an amazing event like the Ride of Champions, which inspires more people to get on the bike.”
Ms. Nancy Brooks, Marketing Manager of Rayyan Water commented: “We are glad to continue our successful partnership with the Ooredoo Ride of Champions. This year the number of participants and spectators exceeded all expectations, but we are happy that we quenched their thirst with more than 11,800 bottles of water.”