Abu Dhabi Tour: race route unveiled@rcssport – @stedicia

Four stages, 555km, three sprints and an uphill finish

Abu Dhabi, 25 March 2015 – The race route of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour was announced today by the event organisers, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Cycling Federation, in partnership with RCS Sport.
All Abu Dhabi Tour content – including Mark Cavendish / stage animation videos

The Abu Dhabi Tour, rated 2.1 by the International Cycling Union (UCI), cycling’s world governing body, will take place from 8 to 11 October. It consists of four stages, including one night stage, around the spectacular capital of the United Arab Emirates and thesurrounding desert, covering a total distance of 555km; three stages favour the sprinters, while the remaining stage, finishing uphill after a 750m climb with gradients touching 12%, will probably decide the General Classification.

Great expectations surround an event that is set to become a major new addition to the international racing calendar. Mark Cavendish, speaking on a pre-recorded video, said: “Abu Dhabi is a place full of tradition, that also looks ahead to the future, I think it’s a great place to have a bike race.”

The Abu Dhabi Tour will feature four stages through UAE’s capital city and the desert
Click to download high-res version for press use

Stage 1 – The Liwa Stage (175km): The entire stage takes place in the stunning Rub al Khali desert, part of Abu Dhabi’s Western Region. Starting among the red sand dunes that surround the beautiful Qasr Al Sarab Resort, the undulating race route accumulates about 1,200m of vertical climbing. The riders will trace a ring around Liwa and the nearby oasis, passing through the town twice. The riders then head north along straight roads for 55km, with the slightest of downhill gradients, as far as the town of Madinat Zayed. After a first passage of the finish line, the peloton enters a final 15km loop, to be ridden just once. A mass sprint is expected, although the desert winds could influence the outcome.

Stage 2 – The Capital Stage (130km): A flat stage across the city, starting at the Yas Marina Circuit and heading towards the southern part of the city along wide and mostly straight roads. After the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Exhibition Hall, the peloton turns back on itself, returning to Yas Island, then following the Corniche as far as Marina Island. This is the setting for the final 7.6km circuit, to be completed five times: it features long straight stretches with wide sharp bends. Again, a mass sprint is expected.

Stage 3 – The Al Ain Stage (140km): The toughest stage of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour. Starting from Al Qattara Souq, the first 33km follow a series of broad, straight roads, then the peloton will trace a wide circle around the city, crossing the Green Mubazzarah oasis before starting the final climb. 11km long, the Jebel Hafeet ascent reaches an altitude of 1,000m on gradients that average 7.5% and touch 12% on the lower slopes. The climb, on wide, well surfaced roads and with long, sweeping bends, eases into a short descent with 1.5km to go, before resuming a shallow climb to the finish line. The final climb will, in all probability, decide the General Classification.

Stage 4 – The Yas Stage (110km): The entire stage takes place at night, under the floodlights of the Yas Marina Circuit. The peloton will complete 20 laps, interspersed with intermediate sprints. The circuit is wide and the surface is in impeccable condition.

Mr. Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council:
“Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is also, and increasingly, an international capital for sport, hosting a great many world-class events. In recent years, cycling has been the focus of great development in the United Arab Emirates and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council is proud to expand its portfolio of events with a race whose future is certain and whose potential is unlimited.

“The Abu Dhabi Tour will show fans around the world the beauty of our country, whether celebrated assets like the Yas Marina Circuit-F1 and the city skyline, or hidden treasures like the oases at Liwa and Qasr Al Sarab, the town of Madinat Zayed and the Jebel Hafeet mountain at Al Ain.

“Our race is well-balanced, with a true mountain stage where the overall winner of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Tour is likely to emerge, and three flatter stages where pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish will compete until the very last metre of the Yas Island Circuit.

“According to the culture and traditions of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi will welcome and cherish the athletes who will come from all around the world. The Abu Dhabi Sports Council will work closely with all the stakeholders of the international cycling community and bring its support and experience to the development of the sport.

“In line with this strategy the Abu Dhabi Sports Council will organise an international Cycling Gala on the final evening of the Abu Dhabi Tour to celebrate in a glittering atmosphere the completion of the WorldTour calendar and the narrative of the 2015 cycling season and its stars.

“An innovative marketing programme will support the Abu Dhabi Tour, underlining its uniqueness in the broader context of the international cycling calendar.

“We would like to express our thanks to all those on whom the success of the event depends: the UAE Federation, the police, the DoT, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and the towns who will host the stages.”

Mr Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation:
“The UAE has hosted and organised many successful cycling events. Today, we are here with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council to proudly announce an amazing new professional event, the Abu Dhabi Tour, which is a major new addition to the cycling world.

“The route has been designed to highlight Abu Dhabi and its most prominent landmarks, projecting spectacular images around the world to leave unforgettable memories of the first edition of this unique event.

“As President of the UAE Cycling Federation, I would like to thank the UCI for their full support from the beginning.”

Mark Cavendish: “I think it’s a great place to have a bike race.”
Click to download high-res version for press use

Mark Cavendish, speaking via video to the hall:
“When I heard about the Abu Dhabi Tour I was super excited… I know that Abu Dhabi is a place full of tradition, that also looks to the future, I think it’s a great place to have a bike race.

“There’s three sprint stages, which obviously bodes well for myself and Etixx – Quick-Step. And even the one stage that is more suited for climbers, we’ve got guys who can do well there, so Etixx – Quick-Step and myself will be looking to go there and do well.”

“I love the Emirates and the people have been very, very welcoming. I know Abu Dhabi is going to put on a splendid show for the Abu Dhabi Tour in October.

“I can’t wait to come and ride the Abu Dhabi Tour. Hopefully my team gets an invitation!”

Lorenzo Giorgetti, RCS Sports and Events DMCC CEO:
“We are really proud to be in Abu Dhabi today with our partners and race organisers, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the UAE Cycling Federation, to present the race route of the first Abu Dhabi Tour and to show that the development and implementation of this new event is now moving forward in the best direction and with mutual satisfaction.

“RCS Sport is a worldwide leader in the production and distribution of cycling events, and today we are delighted to see and participate in the growth of cycling in the United Arab Emirates. I am sure that the new-born Abu Dhabi Tour, part of the UCI Asia Tour, will have a huge impact on cycling all over the world.

“Sport is a natural driver for internationalisation, which is an important goal in line with the strategy of RCS Mediagroup.

“The roll out of this event will see the introduction of the sponsors and the TV and broadcasting plan, with the aim of guaranteeing, from its first edition, wide exposure of the race not only in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates but also internationally.

“At the same time, this race will be an important showcase for the city itself and the entire Emirate of Abu Dhabi, from its skyscrapers to the mountains and from the sea to the desert.

“Cycling is the only major sport that does not take place in a closed venue, but brings the adrenaline of racing directly to the city streets, to the doorsteps of the people.

“I would like to take this occasion to thank in advance all the government authorities, the International Cycling Union and the UAE Cycling Federation, all the volunteers, the host broadcaster, the international television partners and the sponsors who we know will dedicate their considerable skills and energy to make the first edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour a great success.”

On stage at the Abu Dhabi Tour race route press conference.
Left to right: His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (centre) surrounded by (from left to right) H.E. Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, Founding Chairman Al Murooshid Investment; H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council; H.E. Mohammed Al Kamali, General Secretary, UAE Olympic Committee; H.E. Mohammed Bin Thaaloob Al Darei, President, UAE Judo Federation; Chairman, Abu Dhabi Sports Council; H.E. Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council; Mr Abdul Naser Shamsi, General Secretary of UAE Cycling Federation; Mr Mohammed Mehrab, Member of UAE Cycling Federation; Mr. Al Tareq Al Amri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit-F1