2016 Abu Dhabi Tour: Wiggins, Cavendish, Contador and Nibali to battle it out in the capital
The cycling season will come to a close once again in Abu Dhabi with the second edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour, with some of the biggest names in the sport signed up to compete.
British pair Bradley Wiggins, fresh from winning a fifth gold medal at the recently concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Mark Cavendish, another of the sport’s most decorated riders and winner of the 2015 Dubai Tour, are both confirmed entries, along with Spain’s Alberto Contador, one of only six riders to have won all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, as well as Vincenzo Nibali, Eli Vivani and Yousuf Mirza.
As with last year, the race will be over four stages and 555 kilometres in total, and will end with a sprint stage at the Yas Marina Circuit. The race will take place from October 20-23.
The details of the stages and the route map were disclosed at a press conference in the capital on Tuesday.
The stages remain unchanged, beginning with a flat 147km run out in the desert in Madinat Zayed. The second stage will be 115km within the capital city, the route taking in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Island as well as the Corniche.
The 150km third stage is likely to be the most arduous, beginning in Al Ain and incorporating the climb up Jebel Hafeet. The race ends with a 143km stage at Yas Marina.
The four jerseys once again reproduce the colours of the UAE flag: a red jersey for the race leader, black for the intermediate sprints, green for the points classification and white for the best young rider.
The UCI Cycling Gala will also be part of the event, held in Abu Dhabi on October 18.
Stage 1 – THE ADNOC STAGE / MADINAT ZAYED – MADINAT ZAYED (147KM)
The first stage runs entirely into the desert, with the first and last parts of about 45km on straight, wide roads. Once in Liwa, first Intermediate Sprint riders will find a short circuit characterised by constant undulations over dunes, adding up to a significant total elevation. After a second Intermediate Sprint passage in Liwa, the second part of the stage takes the riders to Madinat Zayed, where, after one pass of the finish line, a final 14.5km circuit will conclude the stage.
A city path with only three proper bends, one to the right and two to the left (the final bend being to the left). The last kilometres are on wide, straight boulevards, punctuated by wide-curved roundabouts. The final kilometre is straight on asphalt.
Stage 2 – THE NATION TOWERS STAGE / ABU DHABI – ABU DHABI (Al Marina) (115KM)
The second stage is mostly in the city. After the start, the peloton will travel on wide roads towards the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and then towards Yas Island with a passage through Khalifa City, where there are several roundabouts and speed humps. After the Yas Island first Intermediate Sprint, the race goes to the Sheikh Zayed Highway towards Abu Dhabi Corniche. It follows a route within Reem Island – including the second Intermediate Sprint – then returns to the Corniche finish line. The entire route is on wide boulevards with road furniture constantly dividing the lanes.
The final 5km are on increasingly large roads with large semi-curves leading to the straight finish on asphalt.
Stage 3 – THE STRATA STAGE / AL AIN – JEBEL HAFEET (150KM)
The third stage comprises both urban surroundings and mountains. The first part, inside Al Ain city, is all on wide roads with roundabouts and speed humps and is followed by a second part in the desert along wide and predominantly straight roads. With 15km to go, the route starts to rise slightly towards the final ascent, culminating in an uphill finish at an altitude of 1,025 metres, following an 11km climb with slopes with an 11 per cent gradient.
The final climb is on wide-ranging bends on a three-lane roadway. The gradient is mostly around 8-9 per cent with a peak of 11 per cent at 3km to go. There are short descents in the final kilometres before the final ramp with a straight finish on asphalt.
Stage 4 - THE YAS ISLAND STAGE / YAS MARINA CIRCUIT (143KM)
The final stage is entirely on Yas Island. There are 26 laps on the Formula One Yas Marina circuit, each of 5.5km with three Intermediate Sprints as we count down to the finale. The first Intermediate Sprint is at Lap 11, with 15 laps to go; the second at 10 laps to go and the last Intermediate Sprints with just five laps to go.
Last year during the Yas Island Stage, for the first time in a men’s professional road race, live on-board bike camera footage was made available and used for live television race coverage.
On the perfect tarmac of a 5.5km Yas Marina Circuit with wide roads and large, sweeping bends. The final 250 metres are on straight, flat asphalt.
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport
Updated: September 20, 2016 04:00 AM