Winners of ADC '16

Interview with Julien, Khaled and Pia, the winners of ADC 2016

How the race was won last year?

We contacted the best three riders from last’s years edition to see how they experienced the race and how are they getting ready for 2017’s edition.



Our last year’s overall winner Julien Periard gives the insight.

1. How was the race won last year?
J.P.: Last year was interesting. I knew there were strong riders so I started well and went to the front. I anticipated that I would be joined by 2 or 3 other riders and we would work together, but after a few kilometres I was still by myself. I decided to continue at a steady pace knowing that the race was long and hard with the dunes coming up. At one point a few riders were within a few hundred meters, but I didn’t want to wait because anything can happen in this race. I figured that if someone caught me, I would work with them until the end. As it turns out, the only person to catch me was someone on a fat bike, who caught me after the 5th and 6th dunes, which require a long run when you are on a mountain bike. Once we got on the flats however, I was able to get away and stay at the front for the win.

2. Did you plan your race tactic?
J.P.: No, it just happened that way and I went with the flow.

3. How did you set up your MTB?
J.P.: Actually, the bike was a rental from Carbon Wheels and it was my first time riding it! Nevertheless, I set it up as I normally do. If you want, you can put more air in the tires because of the fact sections, but then you may struggle and have to run on the softer sections. It could also be useful to drop the front end a bit because of the amount of riding that is done on the flats in the wind.

4. What kind of bike would you choose if the organizer would put more sandy patches?
J.P.: If there were more sandy patches the fat bike would definitely be the way to go. With a mountain bike you can ride over some sandy sections, but if the sand is deep or the section too long, then you have to run.

5. What do you think about the UCI category of the race?
J.P.: That is great! Hopefully the race attracts lots of international riders. It is quite unique and I am sure that they will not have ridden anything like this before.

6. How are you preparing for this year’s race?
J.P.: Unfortunately I have not been training as much as I would like. However, with one month left before the race, I am hoping to step up the training and be ready for a very hard fought race.

7. Any advice for the participants…
J.P.: Have fun! This is a very unique race that we can only do in this region. Stay hydrated and enjoy the dunes.



Khaled Al Muhairi
was the winner in the Fat bike category, he was just flying over the sandy patches and sand dunes. He was second overall and won the Fatbike category.

1. How was the race won last year?

K.M.: I am a fat biker fan, I spend a lot of time riding fat bike on the dunes more than my car or motocross.

2. Did you plan your race tactic?
K.M.: I had no plan, just ride and go full gas 40km Time Trial… attached video camera that was on my bike https://youtu.be/OsZOxFSe8B0

3. How did you set up your Fat Bike?
K.M.: Nothing special with my Fat bike that weighs +20kg…

4. You choose again Fat Bike as the preferred bike. Do you think you can win overall if the organizer chooses to include more sandy patches?
K.M.: More sandy patches will definitely be good thing for fat bikers. However, last year race was really excellent for both MTB and Fat bike. But, you can’t mix fat bike with MTB as an overall winner would obviously be an MTB, because the MTB is way way way faster than the fat bike.

5. What do you think about the UCI category of the race?
K.M.: UCI Category, I have no clue what does this mean :/ … are we going to have pro riders racing with us? That would definitely be more painful for us amateurs….

6. How are you preparing for this year’s race?
K.M.: Am doing a lot of fat bike rides in Liwa sand dunes.

7. Any advice for the participants…
K.M.: My advice would be for them is to spend more time on the fat bike and understand what the bike is capable of doing and not…


The most experienced MTB rider in the field, multiple World XCM champion Pia Sundstedt won the women category and was third overall.

1. How was the race won last year?
Pia: It was won in a very early stage. I had a good day and feeling strong both on the bike and the dune sections where you have to run/walk. I was riding on my own in second place overall most of the race until I was passed by a fat bike rider on the second last dune.

2. Did you plan your race tactic?
Pia: Only to try and find a right group with the right pace where you can save some energy. I did not really know what to expect and how difficult the dunes will be. It is like a long ITT with some run sections in between.

3. How did you set up your MTB?
Pia: I ride a Rocky Mountain Vertex 29er. I have a road background before starting mtbiking. I like rigid bikes, so definitely a hard tail suits me.
I also ride tubeless. Little pressure in the tires makes riding in the desert smoother. You don’t dig yourself down in the sand all the time

4. What kind of bike would you choose if the organizer would put more sandy patches?
Pia: A fatbike if I had one, but I like running so I guess I would stick to my hardtail anyway. I like the mix of it, that both fatbikes and mountainbikes can do the same course. I hope it will be kept like this.

5. What do you think about the UCI category of the race?
Pia: It is fantastic for the region and Middle East to get a UCI status for the race. It is an extraordinary race and something different from normal XCM races.

6. How are you preparing for this year’s race?
Pia: I guess I should start to train a bit now. 5weeks time to get in a decent shape. I don’t have much extra time due to family. I ride my bike twice a week and run 2-3 times week.

7. Any advice for the participants…
Pia: Check your bike and that everything works well in advance. There is no worse thing than coming to the start and your brakes are not working, gears are not working, you have a flat tire…
Make a plan how to race. What will the start pace be? How will I get over the dunes? When, what and how often do I need to eat and drink?
There are many tiny things to think of and prepare before the race. By doing that the ride will be easier.

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