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June 17, 2020

Ali aims to beat Indians in UCI 2020 World Cycling


June 17, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s top cyclist Ali Ilyas on Tuesday said that he aims to beat the Indians in the UCI 2020 World Cycling Championships pencilled in for September 20-27 in Switzerland.

“Beating the Indians is my main target. If I beat them then I can finish in top ten or even top six in Asia,” Ali told ‘The News’ in an interview.

Pakistan is set to send two riders to compete in the individual time trial in the global event to be held in Aigle Martigny.

“I am training extremely hard. Here in DHA during lockdown law-enforcement agencies treat riders kindly and I have no issue in training,” said Ali, who is attached with Karachi’s Bikestan Cranck Addicts Club.

“You know India is investing massively in cycling and is very strong. Pakistan on the other hand despite huge talent has been facing financial issues,” said Ali, also a former badminton player.

"Neither is the government supporting this sport nor is the corporate sector taking much interest in it. It’s quite expensive, so the cyclists need proper government patronage," he added.

“I am a businessman, but because of this lockdown I have been getting more time for practice and I am confident I will be well-prepared for trials and, if selected, will put in my best in the World Championships,” Ali said.

He is likely to be picked for the World Championships as he is the country’s top seed and has been practising on scientific basis. He has the services of a foreign coach.

Ali said that there will be no issue in Switzerland for the Pakistani pedallists as the weather there will be pleasant. “Here we are training in hot and humid conditions and when a rider who has trained in such environment moves to a place with low temperature it helps him,” he said.

Ali said that in Switzerland event the terrain is flat and he hopes that those riders will be picked who are more familiar with such tracks.

“Definitely, the federation will pick riders with flat terrain experience. If it opts to pick climbers then they will fail,” he pointed out.

To a question, Ali said that Karachi would be the ideal place for trials because of the condition of wind as in Switzerland too riders will have to struggle against the wind.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cycling Federation (PCF) president Azhar Ali Shah told 'The News' that maximum two riders could be fielded in the global event. He said there was no issue of observing SOPs related to coronavirus. “Trials can be held. You know we are to compete in individual time trial in which a single rider rides in a loop, so there is no issue of any SOPs,” Shah told 'The News'.

Shah said that effort would be made to sponsor the riders going to Switzerland through different means. “You know the government is not giving us funds. We will try to get money from different sources to support Pakistan’s tour to Switzerland as the event is compulsory,” Shah said.