Erik Dekker took victory

Al Adaid Deset Challenge 2017

Tour De France Legend Storms to Victory at Al Adaid Desert Challenge in Qatar

Dutch, Multiple Tour De France Stage Winner, Erik Dekker took victory in the Union Cycliste Internationale(UCI) MTB Elite Race at the second edition of the Al Adaid Desert Challenge in Qatar this weekend.

Dekker took victory, in the Qatar Cyclist Centre organized event, in 1h11m39s over the new 38.6km course that includes six testing sand dunes. New Zealand’s Roman Van Uden and French national MTB marathon champion Frederic Gombert came in second and third respectively in the UCI elite race, in times of 1h14m53 and 1h22m59.

On victory in the race Dekker commented; “I love the race, I love the challenge. I broke from the pack already 3 km after the start near the 1st dune. I waited for Van Uden since it is long way to ride alone for 30 km, but then realized I was much faster on the dunes’

Dekker, who visited Qatar with his wife continued; “It is really nice to come to Qatar from Europe at this time of year. Qatar has great weather, city and beautiful desert… it’s great to combine your visit of the country with the event. I would recommend it to everyone.”

The women’s event was won by Qatar resident, Pia Sundstedt in a time of 1h30m03s. The Finish mountain bike star, who won multiple UCI MTB World Cup’s during her career beat Australia’s Julie Melville respectively.

Pia commented “As a rider experience it was perfect… the atmosphere is amazing. The new finish was nice, especially the last sand dune, from where you could see the water and the finish line. Riding down the dune was real fun. I had a support from my husband and son. We all enjoyed in the event.”

In addition to the elite’s, the race also saw over 240 amateur riders register and 200 compete on the day. Riders competed in mountain bike, fat bike and Qatari national’s categories. Full results can be found at

The rapid growth of cycling in Qatar, was reflected by the 30 Qatari nationals, who took to the start line of this epic desert challenge. The battle for the title of top Qatari rider was very tight, with victory decided on the last sand dune of the race. The first three riders came to finish line in the gap of 20 second with Mubarak Alajji taking victory from Saleh Almuhannadi and Ahamd Alsubaey. The Qatari ladies event was won by Tala Abujbara.

The race organizers spiced up the event with race inside the race on the 800 meters long sandy patch. The “Garmin Sinking Sand” section was won by Dekker who managed to get out the most of his special sand bike.

Omar Al Jaber, Director of Shared Services at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), the principle partner of the event commented, “The Al Adaid Desert Challenge’s ability to draw participants from 15 countries and 39 different nationalities to a hidden gem in the Qatari desert, is testament to the power of sport in bringing people together to share unique challenges and experiences. QTA is delighted to be supporting a sporting event which promises to contribute to the growing sports tourism sub-sector in Qatar.” He added, “We are particularly proud of the Al Adaid Challenge as a Qatari-owned and founded initiative, which has steadily grown over the years.”

Event Managing Director, Dr. Jamal Al Khanji added: “I would like to thank everybody who came to the event from all around the world to participate. It was very interesting race and I hope all the riders enjoyed it. We are happy that our event is growing bigger by the year. This would not be possible without our sponsors and supporters Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Tourism Authority, QNB, Ethicon, Ooredoo, Rayyan water, Qatar Cycling Federation, Mawater, Rassen Sport, GMC, Garmin, Royal Riviera Hotel, Carbon Wheels, Qatar Airways.”

President of Qatar Cyclists Center, the organising body, Dr. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari concluded with: “This race is the most important event for Qatar Cyclists. It is a very special event for the nation as it is hosted in one of our most beautiful and iconic locations in the desert, Khor Al Adaid.”

He continued, “We really enjoyed organising the event, as it presents a unique challenge for participants, both local and the growing number of international participants, travelling from afar to take on this new must do race on the UCI MTB calendar. Taking care of cyclists in this remote location represents a real challenge. We cooperate with several authorities and organisations in order to organise this beautiful event. The family friendly atmosphere at the finish line gave participants another experience to enjoy a peaceful beautiful scenic view with a kids race at the end to try to promote healthy lifestyle for kids.”


For event information and to pre-register for the 2018 event visit or email


Results (PDF)

UCI Elite
MTB / FatBike
Garmin Sinking Sand

Notice! All the finish times are two minutes shorter because of the difference between the start and finish clock. All the positions and time gaps between riders are 100% correct.

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