This year’s edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour, the four-stage professional cycling race organised by Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) in collaboration with RCS Sport, will cover 555km over its four-day run from 20 to 23 October.
The race which brings the international season to a close just a few days after the 16 October World Championships and 18 October UCI Cycling Gala, will start with two flat stages dedicated to sprinters, followed by a mountain stage, where climbers and puncheurs will fight for general classification. The grand finale is once again confirmed for the iconic Formula 1 Yas Marina Circuit.
And the official new competitor jerseys, that will debut in exactly one month’s time on the podium in Madinat Zayed, chosen for the start and finish of the first stage, have now been unveiled. The jerseys reproduce the colours of the UAE flag and are sponsored by ADSC for the leader's red jersey and Etihad Airways for the black intermediate sprints. New jersey sponsors Nation Towers take green for the points classification while Abu Dhabi Sports Channel gets behind the white for the best young rider.
The Nation Towers race headquarters will host the official Fan Zone from Friday 14 October to Monday 24 October, the preliminary preparations, official press conferences and, in conjunction with the adjoining The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, will welcome and host athletes, media and officials. The St Regis will also host the UCI Cycling Gala, where, on the evening of 18 October, the Tour’s teams and riders will be honoured.
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, ADSC’s General Secretary, said:
“First of all, we would like to acknowledge the generous patronage and support of H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council to the second edition of Abu Dhabi Tour. We are also grateful for the close attention paid by H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, to the world-class sport events taking place in Abu Dhabi.”
“We have aimed for the highest standards of accommodation, logistics and sporting competition which is now reflected in the calibre of the teams invited and the riders expected at the start.
"The success of the Abu Dhabi Tour has been recognised by the fact that this annual sporting event will join the UCI WorldTour calendar in February 2017. In addition to the race and the UCI Cycling Gala, we are cultivating several side projects for the development of cycling in schools and among the young. The short-term goal is still to become a world class event but the longer-term focus is to spread the cycling culture, to inspire people into healthy and active lifestyles.
“We would like to thank all those who contribute to the event, including the UAE Cycling Federation, Abu Dhabi Police, the Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and the towns which will host the stages.”
Abu Dhabi Tour 2016 boasts a fast-balanced route alternating between the desert and the sea, and from the mountains to the city. Under the spotlight in the first and third stages are the famous oases of Liwa and Al Ain. The UAE capital is the star of the second stage and takes in the city’s most famous landmarks, from the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, across Saadiyat Island, the Corniche, and Khalifa City. The challenging roadway up Al Ain’s Jabel Hafeet Mountain, the second highest in the UAE, will be decisive for stage three. The Grand Finale at the famous F1 Yas Marina Circuit, where cyclists ride twice a week on the free ‘TrainYas’ programme, will see the peloton complete 25 laps of 5.5km each, before the final sprint to the podium.
Stage 01 – THE ADNOC STAGE / MADINAT ZAYED – MADINAT ZAYED (147 KM)
The first stage runs entirely into the desert, with the first and last parts of about 45km on straight, wide roads. Once in Liwa, first Intermediate Sprint riders will find a short circuit characterised by constant undulations over dunes, adding up to a significant total elevation. After a second Intermediate Sprint passage in Liwa, the second part of the stage takes the riders to Madinat Zayed, where, after one pass of the finish line, a final 14.5km circuit will conclude the stage.
A city path with only three proper bends, one to the right and two to the left (the final bend being to the left). The last kms are on wide, straight boulevards, punctuated by wide-curved roundabouts. The final km is straight on asphalt.
Stage 02 – THE NATION TOWERS STAGE / ABU DHABI – ABU DHABI (Al Marina) (115 KM)
The second stage is mostly in the city. After the start, the peloton will travel on wide roads towards the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and then towards Yas Island with a passage through Khalifa City, where there are several roundabouts and speed humps. After the Yas Island first Intermediate Sprint, the race goes to the Sheikh Zayed bin Highway towards Abu Dhabi Corniche. It follows a route within Reem Island – including the second Intermediate Sprint – then returns to the Corniche finish line. The entire route is on wide boulevards with road furniture constantly dividing the lanes.
The final 5km are on increasingly large roads with large semi-curves leading to the straight finish on asphalt.
Stage 03 – THE STRATA STAGE / AL AIN – JEBEL HAFEET (150 KM)
The third stage comprises both urban surroundings and mountains. The first part, inside Al Ain city, is all on wide roads with roundabouts and speed humps and is followed by a second part in the desert along wide and predominantly straight roads. At 15km to go, the route starts to rise slightly towards the final ascent, culminating in an uphill finish at an altitude of 1025m, following an 11km climb with slopes with an 11% gradient.
The final climb is on wide-ranging bends on a three-lane roadway. The gradient is mostly around 8-9% with a peak of 11% at 3km to go. There are short descents in the last kilometres before the final ramp with a straight finish on asphalt.
Stage 04 - THE YAS ISLAND STAGE / YAS MARINA CIRCUIT (143 KM)
The final stage is entirely on Yas Island. There are 26 laps on the F1 Yas Marina circuit, each of 5.5km with three Intermediate Sprints as we count down to the finale. The first Intermediate Sprint is at lap 11, with 15 laps to go; the second at 10 laps to go and the last Intermediate Sprints with just five laps to go.
Last year during the Yas Island Stage, for the first time ever in a men's professional road race, live on-board bike camera footage was made available and used for live television race coverage.
On the perfect tarmac of a 5.5km Formula 1 circuit with wide roads and large, sweeping bends. The final 250 metres are on straight, flat asphalt.
Four stages, four days of competition and the four colours of the UAE flag inspired the four different jerseys that the classification leaders will wear after every stage. Let’s start with the most prestigious jersey, the red of GC leader. The leader's jersey will be sponsored by ADSC. Last year the red jersey was won by the first winner of the Abu Dhabi Tour, the Colombian Esteban Chaves. Second, in order of importance, it’s the green Points Classification jersey, sponsored by Nation Towers and won in 2015 by the Italian Elia Viviani.
The black jersey for the Intermediate Sprint competition, won last year by the Italian Alessandro Bazzana, will again be sponsored by Etihad Airways. The Best Young Rider Classification Leader, born after January 1, 1991, will be awarded the white jersey, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, which is also confirmed as the race host broadcaster. The jerseys are designed and made by the iconic brand Castelli and are cut in a close-to-the-body anatomical shape for maximum aerodynamic performance when the peloton head into dusty crosswind sections.
- Red Jersey - General Classification: worn by the overall winner, the rider who has proven to be the most consistent over the course.
Powered by: Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC)
“As the principal sports promoter and developer in this emirate, it is fitting that we sponsor the Abu Dhabi Tour’s most representative jersey which denotes leadership. It’s an excellent opportunity to gain worldwide exposure for our work and Abu Dhabi’s growing cycling credentials,” said His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) was established in 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The ADSC is closely aligned to the emirate’s leadership vision to develop sport and youth activities. The Council promotes an effective, emirate-wide sports calendar that encourages all Abu Dhabi residents to participate in quality sports and helps the talented and motivated reach their sporting potential.
ADSC is aligned to the emirate’s leadership vision to develop sport and youth activities. The Council promotes an effective, emirate-wide sports calendar that stimulates the desire to participate in quality sports among all Abu Dhabi residents and helps the talented and motivated reach their sporting potential.
The Council also hosts and supports the staging of international world-class sporting events. These include: the annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship; the Formula 1TM Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; the ITU World Triathlon Series; both the Abu Dhabi and Gary Player Invitationals; the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final; the Red Bull Air Race; the Mubadala World Tennis Championship; the 2017 and 2018 FIFA Club World Cups; the 2019 AFC Asian Cup UAE and the UCI WorldTour event, The Abu Dhabi Tour.
We at ADSC firmly believe that sporting events deliver a host of benefits for the emirate and its residents. These span improved health and wellness, building community spirit, discovering local talent and delivering international exposure for the emirate as a world-class sporting events hub. Whether it is land, sea or air, we have sport covered.
- Green Jersey - Points Classification: worn by the peloton’s fastest man.
Powered by: Nation Towers
"We're extremely excited to announce this partnership, this is a major milestone for the Nation Towers team and we believe this partnership will bring a lot of value to the community and to our stakeholders. We are committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle and inspiring the community to participate in the sport," said Hamad Al Shamsi, CEO of International Capital Trading.
Nation Towers is a luxury complex comprising two towers that have world class facilities including The St. Regis Abu Dhabi hotel, loft apartments, office space, retail, cinemas, recreational amenities, beach club and ample parking for residents and visitors.
- White Jersey- Young Rider Classification: worn by the best U25 young rider in the overall classification.
Powered by: Abu Dhabi Sports Channel
Abu Dhabi Media is pleased to take part in the Abu Dhabi Tour, by providing support from its Sports Channels, which will award the white jersey to the Abu Dhabi Tour’s best young rider, explained H.E. Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media. He also stressed Abu Dhabi Sports Channels’ ongoing commitment to strengthen the Emirate’s position as a world class destination for sport, reflecting the growing sporting environment in the UAE.
"Abu Dhabi Media places great importance on international sporting events, especially those where world champions are competing. We are honoured to welcome all cyclists to Abu Dhabi and are dedicated to supporting our partners and stakeholders participating in the Tour, led by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, to ensure the event is a resounding success. We look forward to providing our audiences with a rich and diverse range of quality content," said H.E. Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media.
Al Mahmood is proud that Abu Dhabi Sports Channels, have been a leader in covering major global sporting events, since their establishment, using the latest broadcasting and digital technologies in an objective and professional manner. He confirmed that Abu Dhabi Media’s preparation to cover the Abu Dhabi Tour is based on a comprehensive media and live broadcast plan, covering all four stages of the race and its related activities.
Abu Dhabi Sports Channel is an UAE Arab channel part of the Abu Dhabi Media Company.
- Black Jersey - Intermediate Sprint Classification: worn by the rider who gains most Intermediate Sprint Points.
Powered by: Etihad Airways
“The Abu Dhabi Tour is a key component of Etihad Airways’ sports sponsorship portfolio in the UAE, which supports activities from golf to jiu-jitsu and from football to Formula 1. We know cycling is becoming increasingly popular across the country and are proud to support this growth,” said Hareb Al Muhairy, Senior Vice President, Corporate and International Affairs at Etihad Airways.
Etihad Airways is the National Airline of the United Arab Emirates. Etihad Airways was established by Royal (Amiri) Decree in July 2003. It commenced operations in November 2003 and has developed into one of the fastest growing airlines in the history of commercial aviation.
The airline seeks to reflect the best of Arabian hospitality - cultured, considerate, warm and generous - as well as enhance the prestige of Abu Dhabi as a centre of hospitality between East and West. Our goal is to be a truly 21st century, global airline, challenging and changing the established conventions of airline hospitality.
OFFICIAL SPONSORS OF THE 2016 ABU DHABI TOUR
In addition to the top sponsors of the four Abu Dhabi Tour 2016 jerseys (ADSC, NATION TOWERS, ABU DHABI SPORTS CHANNEL, ETIHAD), Official Sponsors also include Stage Sponsors (ADNOC, NATION TOWERS, STRATA, YAS ISLAND), the Official Partners (Emirates Motor Company Mercedes-Benz, CASTELLI, Al Ain Water, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Tadweer), the Official Suppliers (Hertz, Giant DDE, Sport360, Dubai Eye, Vittoria), the Official Supporters (Wolfis Bike Shop, Besport) and the Institutional Partners (UAE CYCLING FEDERATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT, ABU DHABI CITY MUNICIPALITY, ABU DHABI POLICE).