Youssef NADER: Between Cycling and Duathlon, a fighting spirit
Some talents are discovered at an early age, others are just never noticed, and there is Youssef NADER; a 28 year-old athletewho started cycling only three years ago and will be representing Lebanon next month in Duathlon at the Asian Beach Games.
Youssef works in finance but he’s a sport fanatic; he has an excellent knowledge in sports, which helps him improve as an athlete. He follows sports since ever, especially cycling. He is a fan of Lance Armstrong and describes him as “a great fighter”. He loves nature and outdoor sports, and started at first to ride for fun with his friends at l’Association du Polyliban, a multicultural NGO with a green attitude.
He started competitive cycling by chance when he met one day Abdo NADER, now the federation general secretary, who asked him to try training on highway where he reached a very decent speed for a beginner. He participated 3 days later in a National championships race with Baskinta Club. He finished 4th in the uphill stage but skipped many races that remaining season.
He started serious training in 2012, when he moved to Homenetmen Club. He trained with his teammates 4 to 5 days a week under the supervision of their coach then, Jean-Pierre Fargialla. He finished 3rd in 2012 Lebanese Cycling Championships.
2013 was his “golden year”. Now an A’amal Bikfaya rider, he rode Volkswagen Tour of Cyprus. He won the Bronze medal and raised his country’s flag on a regional podium. It’s a three-day road “cycling for all” race, with stages of 100km each and an altitude gain of 2,000 meters.
Just two weeks before Cyprus, he crashed hard during a training session and didn’t realize then that he could have damaged his knee till two weeks after, when he woke up one day and was barely able to walk. It happened to be a bone oedema in his left knee.
He got selected for the Mediterranean Games in Mersin. But as he was injured he skipped the Lebanese championships, and started rehabilitation therapy ahead of Mediterranean Games. He couldn’t reach his top level in time for Mersin where he Did Not Finish. “I did my best. I was detached from the pack and got overlapped, meaning DNF”.
“Mersin taught me that no matter how motivated you are in endurance sports, you should be physically ready, well-prepared. Preparation is key. Either your are, or you are not ready, just that.”
Armed with an amazing fighting spirit, Youssef was able to bounce back from his injury later on that season, and gained again some decent form. He got nominated to join the national cycling team for Tour of Sharjah, but didn’t join for some technical issues.
He likes to do many outdoor sports. One of them is running. He combined running with cycling and started competing in duathlon. He won a Silver medal in the Duathlon Pan Arab Championships, elite category. He clocked a very solid 58 minutes 42 seconds. In comparison, Ottowa 2013 ITU Duathlon World Championships over the same distance was won in 53 minutes 54 seconds.
He is participating next month in the Asian Beach Games and should be a serious contender if he was able to replicate the same performance he pulled in Arab Championships Duathlon, he said.
This year, he’s back to Homenetmen Club. He finished on the podium of Open races; races that aren’t sanctioned by the Federation. As for the sanctioned ones, his current Lebanese ranking is 2nd.
Lebanese Ranking system in Cycling is based on points collected during 6 sanctioned races organized by the Federation. Those include the nationals, Lebanon cup, Zadourian memorial race and others; they already did 3 races and still have 3 to go before the end of 2014 season.
Youssef’s 2015 target is to defend and improve his current standing on Lebanese Cycling Ranking, and to feature again on regional and continental podiums in Duathlon and Cycling.
He has a superb physical endurance and great strength in the uphills. He describes cycling as a team sport: “You will never win if you ride alone. It’s all about team tactics, cycling is a team sport.”
He proceeds saying that the main difficulties we’re facing today in Lebanese Sports is the lack of Sports awareness and education among society. We’ll never progress in Sports with the absence of proper orientation and vision. That void the Ministry of Sports, National Olympic committee, federations, academies, local clubs and NGO’s should all together work in harmony to fill.
Youssef’s advice is “to always follow your passion and to never quit no matter what”. His ultimate long-term goal is to climb Everest; the highest peak in the world, without supplemental oxygen.
Duathlon: Pan Arab Championships (2014)
Elite Category, 2nd (58’42” – Sprint course)
- Foreign participation
Tour Of Cyprus – General Classification
2014 – 18th
2013 – 3rd
Mediterranean Games – Mersin
2013 – DNF (Mostly due to injury)
- Local participation
Lebanese Championships–Classification (Includes all sanctioned races)
2014 – 2nd (To date)
2013 – Missed most of season due to injury
2012 – 3rd
Other open Races (Non sanctioned by the Federation)
2014 Viken Zakarian Memorial Race – 3rd
2013 Ain Zhalta Time Trial Race – 1st
2013 Bikfaya Road Race – 3rd
2012 Rotary Zgharta Road Race – 1st
2012 Faqra Annual Race – 2nd
Relay Team Category (Cyclist)
2014 Elite Club Triathlon
2013 Roy Nasr Batroun Triathlon – 1st
2012 Batroun Triathlon – 2nd
2012 Jounieh Triathlon – 1st
- Quadriathlon (Kayak/Mtb/Trail Running/Climbing & Abseiling)
2012 – 1st