Professional cycling in the Emirates is set for a major shake-up after it was announced that the Abu Dhabi Tour and Dubai Tour have been merged and will run as the UAE Tour from 2019.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the two governing bodies on Wednesday. The amalgamated event is set to retain its elite UCI World Tour status and consist of seven stages across the country, with next February planned as the running date.
“It is time to elevate the success we have had from both the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Tours to another level,” Abu Dhabi Sports Council general secretary Aref Al Awani was quoted as saying in The National.
“The nature of the UAE has always been to have a united passion. The instructions have come from our leadership that we should utilise the success that we have got as one nation.”
The Dubai Tour was founded in 2014, with the Abu Dhabi event following a year later. The race in the capital was added to the premier UCI World Tour in 2017.
Several of the sport’s biggest stars have competed in them, such as Mark Cavendish, Elia Viviani and Vincenzo Nibali.
Dubai Sports Council general secretary Saeed Hareb declared the amalgamated event will be more financially viable.
He said: “It’s not less or more on the financial resources for us but more impact in terms on the value of the event in terms of the media coverage.”
Yas Marina Circuit welcomed Manchester City’s Head of Sports Medicine, Dr Max Sala, to test his metal at the weekly TrainYAS by Daman’s ActiveLife event on Wednesday.
Dr Sala, who is currently training for the Race Across America, was able to continue his fitness regime during his Abu Dhabi trip with the Premier League leaders.
The RAAM Challenge, which has to be completed within 12 days, will see him cycle 3,000 miles across 12 states, climbing a staggering 53,340 metres in the process.
“I can’t afford any long breaks in my training regime or this could result in a de-training effect which would be detrimental for me,” he said.
“I try my best to plan my training around our busy demands of the season even during overseas trips like this week.”
The team’s head medic, who is visiting the emirate as part of Manchester City’s warm weather training camp, also welcomed the opportunity to train in more realistic temperature ranges that he will experience on his racing journey from Oceanside California in California and ending at City Dock Annapolis, Maryland.
He added: “The heat will allow me to push up the intensity of my training, which can really help me prepare for hot conditions during the race across America.
“During the race there will be sections where the temperature is likely to rise significantly into the high 40°C range, even peaking at 50°C.
“Training in these warm conditions this week will give my cardiovascular fitness a big boost.”
Simon Henley, Majed Al Jahoori and Helle Sahlholdt have been crowned 2018 champions in the inaugural Dubai Eye 103.8 UAE Road Cycling Championship.
Henley took the honours in the Open Men’s category, with Al Jahoori claiming the Emirati Men’s title and Sahlholdt topping the Open Women’s division.
The trio claimed the top podium spots after the final race of the two-stage Championship, held in Dubai on March 9, which brought together the UAE’s best elite amateur cyclists.
The second stage at Dubai Sports City saw another win for Sahlholdt in the Open Women’s section, with Sam Stollery claiming the Open Men race win, with Ahmed Al Fahim victorious in the Emirati Men.
Stage results can be found via: