Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

UAE Tour organisers hoping race can reach levels of Tour de France and Giro d'Italia

Second staging of Middle East's only World Tour cycling event set to take place over seven days in February

Left to right at the UAE Tour launch in Dubai: Fabrizio D'Amico, RCS Sports and Events UAE branch manager, Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi sports council, Saeed Hareb, general secretary of Dubai sports council, Osama Al Shafar, president of the UAE cycling federation and Eisa Al Hazami, secretary-general of the Sharjah Sports Council. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Left to right at the UAE Tour launch in Dubai: Fabrizio D'Amico, RCS Sports and Events UAE branch manager, Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi sports council, Saeed Hareb, general secretary of Dubai sports council, Osama Al Shafar, president of the UAE cycling federation and Eisa Al Hazami, secretary-general of the Sharjah Sports Council. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Organisers of the UAE Tour have said their long-term ambition is for the race to reach the levels of cycling behemoths the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia.

It was announced on Monday that the 2020 UAE Tour, the Middle East's only World Tour cycling event, will be taking place from February 23-29.

Last year's inaugural race, an amalgamation of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours, was won by the Slovenian Primoz Roglic.

The Jumbo-Visma rider would go on to replicate that form by claiming his – and his country's – first Grand Tour title at September’s Vuelta a Espana.

The seven-stage race started with a 16km time trial around Al Hudayriat Island in Abu Dhabi and finished in Dubai. This time round, it will start in Dubai and end in the capital city.

It travels across all seven Emirates – Dubai, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi

Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said the inaugural UAE Tour was a roaring success due to the exceptional teamwork of all the Emirates.

“Together, we planned and delivered a world class event,” he said. “But 2019 was just the beginning. The next step is to be more confident and consistent and to further involve the local community and to encourage more cycling fans from all over the world to join us.

“Our long-term ambition is for the UAE Tour to reach the level of Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. We have the same riders who take part in these two races and we are confident the UAE Tour will achieve the same level in the foreseeable future.”

All 18 World Tour teams that were present at the 2019 UAE Tour are set to arrive for the second staging of the race.

Among the 140 riders in the first edition of the race included former World Champions Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos).

Primoz Roglic, of Slovenia, celebrates winning the inaugural UAE Tour in March. AFP
Primoz Roglic, of Slovenia, celebrates winning the inaugural UAE Tour in March. AFP

Plus Grand Tour winners Tom Dumoulin (Giro d’Italia – Team Sunweb) and Vincenzo Nibali (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana – Bahrain-Merida) and other top-class riders such as Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, Dan Martin, Tony Martin, Richie Porte and Elia Viviani will be seen in action.

“The second edition of the World Tour will retain many of the first event’s finest characteristics, and build upon this with even greater public involvement and a new route,” Saeed Hareb, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council, said at the launch ceremony in Dubai on Monday.

The full route details are yet to be unveiled, but the race will feature a balanced course expected to cover more than 1,000km with an elevation gain of more than 4,500m, which is ideal for all-round general classification riders.

It should present opportunities for sprinters and time-trial specialists to fight for stage wins.

Updated: October 21, 2019 02:21 PM

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