NAME: Majid Albalooshi1 DOB: 31 May 1987 (Year of the Rabbit) BIRTHPLACE: United Arab Emirates
TEAM: UAE National Team

There’s a homogenous quality to professional cycling, particularly when one sees the peloton go by, all in nearly-identical lycra attire that differs only in its dye-sublimation. Sure, the riders wearing those team kits vary in their backgrounds, personalities and skill levels, but their careers share a common experience. That, however, changes drastically in 2.1-level races like the Tour Dubai, as designated by the UCI. In those races, paid professionals riding for the largest most well-equipped teams in the world race alongside amateurs who—in the case of Tour Dubai— are forced to use-up at least three of their Vacation Days just to compete. For example, 26-year old Majid Albalooshi.

Majid races for the UAE National Team but earns a living as an officer in Dubai Central Jail, a sizable penitentiary facility that houses 4,000 convicts in the Al Aweer desert. Though he spends a significant amount of hours training on his bike, he’s unable to say that he’s a cyclist by profession. This is because the UAE cycling federation, which was founded in 1974, has yet to allow any of its riders to become professionals, let alone classify “cyclist” as an occupation. Which means that on Sunday the 9th (the race ends on Saturday and Sunday is NOT a day of rest in the UAE), Majid probably went back to work at Dubai’s central jail in the Al Aweer desert.

  1. MFS has seen his named spelled as Majid Albalooshi, Majid Al Balooshi, Majed Albalooshi and Majed Al Balooshi. The first seems to be the most common. []