ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Organizers announced the route for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour on Wednesday, which will include four stages, a total distance of 555 kilometers, and uphill finish on the third day. The race, to be held October 8-11, is promoted by Abu Dhabi Sports Council and UAE Cycling Federation, in partnership with RCS Sport.
In its first running, the Abu Dhabi Tour will be a UCI category 2.1 event around the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the surrounding desert.
“When I heard about the Abu Dhabi Tour I was super excited,” said Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step). “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.”
Stage 1 – The Liwa Stage (175km): The first day takes place in the Rub al Khali desert, part of Abu Dhabi’s western region. Starting at Qasr Al Sarab Resort, the undulating race route accumulates about 3,940 feet of vertical climbing as the race loops around Liwa and the nearby oasis. The riders then head north along straight roads for 55km. After a first passage of the finish line, the peloton enters a final 15km loop, to be ridden just once. A 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 toward the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Exhibition Hall. The peloton will then return to Yas Island, then follow the Corniche as far as Marina Island. This is the setting for the final 7.6km circuit, to be completed five times, featuring long, straight stretches with wide sharp bends. It should be another day for the sprinters.
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. At 11km long, the Jebel Hafeet ascent reaches an altitude of 3,281 feet on gradients that average 7.5 percent and touch 12 percent 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 likely decide the general classification.
Stage 4 – The Yas Stage (110km): The final 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 road is in impeccable condition.
“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 meter of the Yas Island Circuit,” said Aref Hamad Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council.