The 2019 cycling race season is quickly approaching. What’s new?
Abu Dhabi and Dubai Tours have merged in 2019 to form a new UAE Tour. A memorandum of understanding was signed last March by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Dubai Sports Council with the UCI approval for inclusion in the official calendar.
What this means is that rather than two separate UCI races, the 2.HC Dubai Tour and the WorldTour Abu Dhabi Tour (five-day races in the first part of the year), it was decided to create an even more attractive race for sprinters, climbers and time trialers, while expanding media coverage (TV and Radio) for the Emirates. The newly devised UAE Tour is set to create a bigger impact while retaining its UCI World Tour status.
The unified event on the UCI calendar of world cycling events brought on new changes for the organizers; they had to come up with a new logo (the Tour name is now written in red and green in a heptagon shape in reference to the Emirates involved in the event), a new trophy (a 5.5kg heptagonal prize that is 24kt gold-plated and bears the names of all nine winners of both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours on the back) and new dates – February 24 to March 2.
The decision to join forces has got “positive feedback from the global cycling community,” said Mr. Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation.
Team riders will have to tackle a new cycling route across all seven emirates of the UAE. The race will set off in Abu Dhabi with a TTT on Sunday 24 February and will finish in Dubai on Saturday 2 March. Onlookers can expect 7 days of UAE Tour racing, “three summit finishes and three sprint stages along the aforementioned TTT [a 16 kilometers team time trial].”
2019 UAE Tour Route and Stages
- Stage 1: Hudariat Island (TTT), 16km
- Stage 2: Yas Mall – Abu Dhabi, 184km
- Stage 3: Al Ain – Jebel Hafeet, 179km
- Stage 4: Dubai – Hatta Dam, 205km
- Stage 5: Sharjah – Khor Fakkan, 181km
- Stage 6: Ajman – Jebel Jais, 180km
- Stage 7: Dubai, 145km
“Following the merger of the individual Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour, the new race [UAE Tour]is a big opportunity for cycling here”, said H.E. Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary.
“I am confident we can become an important appointment in the world cycling calendar and keep growing as a sporting event as well as developing the fan base,” said H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council Secretary General.
UAE’s cycling event is now a seven-stage UAE Tour that is a more financially viable project and is sure to attract some of the finest riders. In fact, the UAE Tour expects top riders like Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin, Alejandro Valverde (winner of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour), Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis, Vincenzo Nibali, Elia Viviani (winner of the 2018 Dubai Tour) and Marcel Kittel to participate in the race.
The race, with a total of 1,090km and 4,500 meters of climbing, will not only be a great cycling show but will also allow spectators to discover new areas and locations in the country. Be part of the action! Come on out to cheer on your favorite teams, including UAE Team Emirates, in their quest for glory.