UAE Tour race organisers, the Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah Sports Councils, along with RCS Sport, have announced the dates for the second edition of the only WorldTour race in the Middle East - 23rd to 29th February 2020, as ratified by cycle sport’s world governing body, the UCI.
The announcement, made in the presence of H.E Saeed Mohammed Hareb – General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council; H.E Aref Al Awani – General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council; H.E Issa Hilal Al Hazami – General Secretary, Sharjah Sports Council; and Mr Osama Al Shafar – President of the UAE Cycling Federation, follows the hugely successful first edition of the UAE Tour, raced in February 2019. The UAE Tour Challenge registration was also announced as open, alongside the official car supplier Audi.
The inaugural UAE Tour featured the highest quality field of competitors, produced a tremendously entertaining sporting spectacle watched keenly across the globe in more than 200 territories, and brought together full and enthusiastic involvement from the United Arab Emirates’ public, businesses and other organisations.
The 2nd edition of the WorldTour cycling race will retain many of the first event’s finest characteristics, and build upon this with even greater public involvement and a new route that will see the riders start with a dramatic send-off in Dubai before the intense competition culminates a week later in Abu Dhabi. Along the way the race will visit seven Emirates – Dubai, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras-Al-Khaimah, Umm-Al-Quwain, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah – showcasing the natural landscapes and other beautiful aspects of the whole UAE.
The first edition was won by Primož Roglič – the immensely talented Slovenian rider claiming victory in his first ever seven-day WorldTour stage race, and who went on to replicate similar form in claiming his first GrandTour title at September’s Vuelta a España. All 18 WorldTour teams were represented at the 2019 UAE Tour, with 140 riders competing and ranking amongst them such elite talent as former World Champions Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos) along with other Grand Tour winners including Tom Dumoulin (Giro d’Italia – Team Sunweb) and Vincenzo Nibali (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España – Bahrain-Merida) and a global roster of top class riders such as Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, Dan Martin, Tony Martin, Richie Porte and Elia Viviani.
The 2020 UAE Tour will attract teams and riders of the same matchless calibre, with start lists to be announced closer to the event. While the full route details are yet to be unveiled, the 2nd UAE Tour will feature a balanced course and is expected to cover more than 1000km with an elevation gain of more than 4500m – ideal for all-round General Classification riders while still presenting opportunities for sprinters and time trial specialists to fight for stage wins.
Along with the world’s finest athletes fighting it out, the UAE Tour has inspired competitive cycling in many UAE citizens, and in bringing many visitors to the region, with more than 1,000 riders taking part in the four UAE Tour Challenges, demonstrating that the UAE is a leading cycling destination, not just for professionals but also for enthusiasts. Other important community involvement included an Educational Project, presented by Mubadala, an initiative through which over 2,000 students have learned about the benefits of cycling and road safety.
H.E. Saeed Mohammed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council General Secretary, said: “The UAE Tour is the only UCI WorldTour race in the Middle East and demonstrates perfectly how together we can host an elite sporting event and with it showcase our region to the world. It was an amazing accomplishment to be a part of the team staging the first UAE Tour and we know that for the second edition we have made developments to make it even more exciting.”
H.E. Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary, said: “The inaugural UAE Tour was a roaring success due to the exceptional teamwork of all the Emirates. Together, we planned and delivered a world class event. But 2019 was just the beginning. The next step is to be more confident and consistent and to further involve the local community and to encourage more cycling fans from all over the world to join us.”
H.E. Issa Hilal Al Hazami, Sharjah Sports Council General Secretary, said: “Along with our colleagues in the other Sports Councils, we, the Sharjah Sports Council, are proud of the new route which will show the beauty of all seven Emirates to cycle racing fans and other viewers right around the world, as well as the new initiatives in the 2020 UAE Tour that will make next year’s event even more thrilling. We are proud to be a team and grow the race together.”
H.E Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation, said: “The UAE Tour debut was really impressive, in terms of the quality of the competitors and the excitement of the racing itself, and in terms of the global exposure generated by television and the other media outlets. It was an amazing accomplishment to host an intense race with all 18 UCI WorldTeams. As the Cycling Federation, this WorldTour race represents the season’s highlight and we look forward to attracting even more riders and fans in 2020.”
Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, said: “The reception of the first edition of the UAE Tour was highly positive, from riders and teams, from the viewers, the sponsors and from broadcasters worldwide. So we are delighted to share with you what we have been working on together since the end of last year’s race in preparation for 2020, with our new start and finish locations. I would like to thank our partners, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah Sports Council for their confidence.”
More details on the 2020 UAE Tour – the only WorldTour race in the Middle East on next year’s calendar – will be announced in the coming months, including the official jerseys and the complete route.