Soufiane Haddi is nowadays in Portugal, riding the Troféu Joaquim Agostinho for the Morocco National Team. The 25 year old rider is one of the crucial pieces of the well known Skydive Dubai-Al Ahli Club, continental team of the United Arab Emirates with the Portuguese management of Ricardo Martins.
At the beginning of the Portuguese race, Cycling & Thoughts talked with Soufiane Haddi about his goals for the Troféu Joaquim Agostinho and the other races he is going to compete in this season.
“I came here with the Team Morocco for the race in order to prepare for the Olympic Games in Brasil. I made the season with Skydive and now I’m focused on the Olympics. After this race I will have the National Championships in Morocco and then go to Brasil.”
The young Haddi has already three gold medals at the ITT Morocco Championships [2015, 2014, 2013], the last one won in 2015, the year he won the road race too. The Morocco champion completes in the end of 2016 the third of three year contract with the Skydive Dubai-Al Ahli Club.
“This was my first team. I have a contract of three years with Skydive and it’s been good for me and a good motivation. Next year I think I will do a new contract with Skydive. Probably next year I think we’ll be Pro Continental, we’ll have more sponsors and I’m gonna do more work. It’s going to be good for me.”
Soufiane Haddi started 2016 with a 9th place at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, then a 10th GC at the Dubai Tour (2.HC) where he won the youth classification. At the Tour of Qatar (2.HC) he finished 27th GC and 4th at the African Continental Championships at the ITT and road race. In Italy, he rode the Settimana Coppi e Bartali with a shy 116th place.
Now in Portugal his mind is totally focused on the Olympics. “It will be hard. This year is hard mountain, which for me is very hard, but I’ll give my maximum”, says a confident and smiling Soufiane.
Regarding the future of Morocco cycling, Soufiane Haddi concludes the exclusive interview for Cycling & Thoughts saying: “Now we only have a few riders of Morocco in other continental teams, we need more. I hope my country will have continental teams that we don’t have now. Would be good for us.”
|Soufiane Haddi at the Troféu Joaquim Agostinho, in Portugal|
(photo Helena Dias)