Cycling for UAE Team Emirates is a ‘dream come true’, says Yousif Mirza
Spending time with family is also very important during the holy period “Time flies so fast during Ramadan. There’s so much to do with preparing a meal to breaking the fast, attending evening prayers, and then of course, my workout routine. But I like spending time with my family and my children. We do activities around the house and I try to educate them on the meaning of this blessed month.
The benefits of exercise during Ramadan from a mental, physical and social perspective are well documented and Mirza, who walks up to 700km a week, says he burns around 2,400 calories on each trip. But it’s nothing. “During races we burn around 5,000 calories,” the 33-year-old explains.
It’s one of the toughest sports and when asked if he wished he had chosen something else, he replied: “I’ve always been in love with cycling since I was 9 years old. years, when I dreamed of becoming a star in this sport. sport and racing in Europe, America, Australia and all parts of the world. When I joined UAE Team Emirates in 2017, I went from amateur to professional. It was a dream come true.”
It was a brave decision to ride a bike when he did because not many people knew much at the time. “At school, my friends made fun of me because the kit was so tight,” he recalled. “They thought it was dangerous to be on the street on a bicycle, but I didn’t let them discourage me and I continued. It was not easy to reach the level I am today – there have been many difficult challenges along the way, but I am proud of what I have achieved for myself and for my country .
Since joining UAE Team Emirates, his goal has been to win a race in Europe. “Inshallah, I will get there,” said the fastest man on two wheels in the United Arab Emirates and the first Emirati to be a member of a World Tour team. Mirza, whose cycling idol is Alberto Contador, and who sometimes trains with Mark Cavendish when the Briton is in the United Arab Emirates, has won several national titles as well as the silver medal in the road race at the Asian Championships of cycling 2015. This earned him qualification for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and he is happy with how the current season has gone. “I attended a training camp in Spain last December where we made plans for the season and my first race was in Saudi Arabia in February. Then the next one was in Oman and I really did well. done in those two races and I helped the team. Every year for me is a new experience and I’m really proud to be part of the team. It took time to adapt, but I am satisfied with the way everything is going,” he says.
He was thrilled to win the UAE National Cycling Championships again this year and clearly loves the event as he has won it every year since 2010. I also set a new average speed record for the UAE 48.6 km/h in 35 km, which I was very satisfied with.
Cycling in the United Arab Emirates has become increasingly popular and there are several specially designated spots across the country for people to safely get on their bikes and get a good workout. Mirza played a key role in its growth. “We try to inspire the next generation and help them by visiting schools and educating them about cycling. I think we will see many more professional riders in the future from the United Arab Emirates. They all want to play football, that’s good, but we want to involve them in cycling, that’s our mission. It’s a healthy sport and we have so many facilities here in the UAE.
When it comes to the rest of the season, there are plenty of goals, but one stands out above the rest. “Our next race is the Giro, but the main objective is to win the Tour de France,” says the Ras Al Khaimah native. “We want to keep the jersey next July. We will all do our best to support Tadej Pogacar and we hope to win him again and give him his third title. I will do my best to make the team but there are only 7 places and we have 13 riders. We have a training camp in June then the technical staff and the director will choose the 7 riders.
If Mirza continues to break records in Middle Eastern cycling, he will surely be one of the first names in the team.