Froome, Nibali, Dumoulin and Valverde will ride the new UAE Tour
The only WorldTour race in the Middle East, will take place from Sunday, February 24 to Saturday, March 2 2019
The inaugural UAE Tour’s seven stages will embrace all seven Emirates. The first three stages will be hosted by Abu Dhabi, the fourth by Dubai, Sharjah and Ras-al-Khaimah, the fifth stage crosses Sharjah, Ras-al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The sixth is in Ajman, Umm-al-Quwain and Ras-al-Khaimah, while the final stage sees a return to Dubai.
The UAE Tour has a total distance of 1,090km with a significant elevation gain of around 4,500 metres, mostly concentrated into stages three, four and six.
Eighteen WorldTour teams plus two UCI Professional Continental Teams are set to start the race. With each team comprising seven riders, a total of 140 athletes will line up at Al Hudayriat Island for the opening stage Team Time Trial.
Among them are some of the world’s finest riders including six-time Grand Tour champion Chris Froome, who goes head-to-head with Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin, Alejandro Valverde, Elia Viviani and Marcel Kittel.
The new race is a mix of technically different stages, open to all kinds of riders, with the all-rounders most likely to win the overall General Classification category.
It starts on Sunday 24th February in Abu Dhabi’s Al Hudayriat Island with the ADNOC Stage (16km), the very first Team Time Trial opening the Middle East WorldTour race.
The second stage, the Abu Dhabi Stage (184km), will be a tour of the capital, starting in Yas Island and passing through Khalifa Port, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Corniche before finishing at the Big Flag.
The following day, the peloton will start the Al Ain Stage (177km) from the Al Ain UAE University before facing the first UAE Tour peak: the 1,025m Jebel Hafeet, which features a maximum gradient of 11%.
February 27th sees the fourth and longest stage of the UAE Tour, the Dubai Municipality Stage (205km). Its route is a tribute to the classic Dubai Tour “Queen stage”, starting from The Pointe at Palm Jumeirah and finishing with the short, sharp rise of Hatta Dam, climbing 200m on gradients ranging from 12% to a maximum of 17%.
The next day, the Sharjah Stage (181km), runs from Flag Island to Khor Fakkan, from Arabian Gulf to Oman Gulf, from the desert to the ocean – and is likely to culminate in a bunch sprint.
New features are packed into the sixth day, the RAK Properties Stages (180km), when, for the first time, the peloton will ride among the Jais Mountains. 150km after the start in Ajman, the climbers and puncheurs will fight for general classification on the 20km-long uphill finish of Jebel Jais, with its 5% average gradients.
The Grand Finale, on March 2 delivers a spectacular parade entirely in the city of Dubai. The Dubai Stage (145km) starts at Dubai Safari Park and finishes at the City Walk district with what is expected to be a bunch sprint.
The UAE Tour jerseys will be provided by one of the cycling industry’s leading brands, Castelli, the supplier for both the Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Tours.
The four different jerseys are made using a high-tech fabric supplied by SITIP that is both UV-protective and allows for a very rapid rate of heat dissipation.
There are four colours, one for each classification, starting with the most prestigious: red, for the leader of the general classification.
General Classification: worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the leader of the General Classification by time.
Points Classification: worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the fastest sprinter, who has obtained the best positions in each stage and intermediate sprints.
Young Rider Classification: worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the best young rider born after 1st January 1994 in the overall classification (U25), the name to watch out for in the future.
Intermediate Sprint Classification: worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the rider who gained more Intermediate Sprint Points than any other rider.