Report: Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour to merge in 2019

The Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour will merge to form a single seven-stage WorldTour race through the UAE next season.

The National reports that The Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour will merge into a single race to be known as the UAE Tour next year.

According to the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper, the sports councils of Abu Dhabi and Dubai signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday. The unified race will run seven stages through the UAE, and retain the WorldTour status currently belonging to the Abu Dhabi Tour, which completed its fourth edition in 2018. The Dubai Tour, in its fifth edition as of this February, was a 2.HC-rated event on the UCI’s Asia Tour.

Quick-Step’s Elia Viviani claimed the GC win at the Dubai Tour last month, while Alejandro Valverde rode to the overall victory in Abu Dhabi.

Both events already crossed into other emirates as part of their five-day routes.

“We have approached the UCI to get the name changed and for the approval for the seven stages. The only thing that is under discussion is how to fit the race in the best possible time of the year,” said Abu Dhabi Sports Council general secretary Al Awani, according to The National.

“We usually submit two dates with priority one and two, and it is on the reasonable days of the year when we have very attractive climate which is February.

“We want to keep the same February schedule we have had both the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Tours. The UCI will decide on the dates.”

RCS, which organizes both the Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour but does not own the races, offered no official comment on the news as of Wednesday afternoon.