Just over 1100 cyclists lined up early Sunday morning in the United Arab Emirates to try and qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships and compete for AED 36,000 (~$10,000 USD) in cash prizes at the 13th edition of Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge.

On a fast and flat 95 kilometers long gran fondo course, preliminary results show 240 riders successfully qualified for the 2023 world championships by finishing in the top 20% of their age/gender category.

24 year-old Russian Popov Anton (M19-34) was the fastest of all riders, beating amateurs and pros to finish in 2:04:38 and qualify for the world championships, while also earning an AED 10,000 (~$2700 USD) pro level prize payout.

Anton who finished third in the 2021 Russian U23 championships is not eligible to compete in the world championships due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the UCI is currently considering changes to allow Russian cyclists to compete in international events, including the 2023 Gran Fondo World Championships.

Madison Black (F19-34) from Australia finished in 2:06:15 as the fastest female to qualify for the world championships, but pro rider Olivia Baleisyte outsprinted Black to take home the AED 10,000 prize. Current pro riders are not eligible to compete in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.

Spinneys Dubai 92 is not the first gran fondo to blur the line between amateur and pro races by offer a pro-level prize payout. In November 2022 Gran Fondo Abu Dhabi awarded $500,000 USD (AED 2,000,000) in cash payouts, making the amateur race prize list the largest ever for a one-day race in the world – for amateurs or professionals.

Spinneys Dubai 92 Gran Fondo UCI qualified riders HERE.

Complete Spinneys Dubai Gran Fondo results HERE.

Photos: Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge