Abu Dhabi World Tour added to UCI world calendar

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The tour will be part of the world schedule for the next three years.

It has been announced by the UCI that the professional cycling race run through stages across the emirate now joins the WorldTour for its third edition, taking place from 23-26 February next year.

The UCI has granted the Abu Dhabi event WorldTour status for the next three years, saying it reflects the quality of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

The four-stage professional cycling race organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) with the collaboration of RCS Sport.

This year’s edition, which starts in the UAE capital and runs from 20-23 October, will see professional cycling teams and those from the UAE race across three sprint stages and one mountain stage.

“This status upscale is proof of the commitment and sheer hard work delivered by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and our partners,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, ADSC’s general secretary. “We hope the global media attention it brings will also help build Abu Dhabi’s growing credentials as a significant cycling destination taking us centre stage in a discipline which is increasingly capturing the attention of the sporting world and local communities.

“Cycling is a sport which meets our objectives of nurturing local heroes and spreading a culture of healthy, active lifestyles among the entire community – resident or expatriate, young or old. Once our local cyclists have the chance to see the world’s best in action, and honoured, we hope to further inspire their own aspirations.”

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UCI Cycling Gala will return to Abu Dhabi

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Winners from last year's event.

This end-of-season celebration of the year’s greatest achievements in professional cycling will happen on 18 October.

It occurs two days before the Abu Dhabi Tour, the four-stage professional cycling race organised by the UAE capital’s sports council.

“We are honoured to host the UCI Cycling Gala again. It will be a fantastic celebration of this year’s cycling season while honouring the champions in their long ride to Abu Dhabi,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s general secretary.

“ With three main cycling events in the same week, the Abu Dhabi Tour will be in the spotlight of the entire sports world.”

Prizes will be awarded to athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout the season.

The UCI Cycling Gala will also be the official debut of the newly-crowned UCI Road World Champion, who will have earned the title just two days earlier, on 16 October.

“I am pleased that the UCI Cycling Gala returns to Abu Dhabi and I am thankful to the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the United Arab Emirates Cycling Federation for their support,” added UCI President Brian Cookson.

“Just days after the UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and on the eve of the Abu Dhabi Tour, we could not have found a better moment to celebrate the very best of men and women’s road cycling in 2016.”

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5 key moments during Froome's Tour de France win

Sport360 staff 25/07/2016
How it happened: Chris Froome's historic victory

Britain’s Chris Froome won his third Tour de France on Sunday to confirm his status as one of the all-time greats on the world’s most gruelling race.

Froome finished with an almost three-minute advantage over Frenchman Romain Bardet with Nairo Quintana, the runner-up in 2013 and 2015, third.

Here, we look at five key moments in his historic win.

DEFLATEGATE

With the top contenders watching each other like hawks and generally remaining close together, young Briton Adam Yates took a rare opportunity to streak clear and steal a few seconds on the seventh stage.

But his progress was halted in stunning fashion as the inflatable archway indicating the final kilometre collapsed on him. A fan had accidentally dislodged a pin and the arch came crashing down, knocking Yates off his bike and leaving him with a bloody chin.

DARING DESCENT

Arguably the eighth stage was the one which set the tone for what was to follow as Froome demonstrated a never-before-seen dexterity. The renowned time-trialler and climber proved just as agile on a breakneck descent to the finish of the stage in Bagneres-de-Luchon.

He attacked over the top of the final climb and while Nairo Quintana, his expected main rival, hesitated, Froome adopted an awkward, crouched position while pedalling furiously to snatch 23 seconds from his challengers, winning the stage and the yellow jersey.

TAMING THE WIND

Froome consolidated not only his lead in the race but his growing reputation as the complete rider as he broke away alongside world champion Peter Sagan in the final 12km of the 11th stage.

“All day my team-mates protected me, right to the end of the stage. When I saw Sagan go away I thought, ‘I have to follow him and maybe together we can get there’,” said Froome. He predictably lost the sprint finish to Sagan but his mastery of the perilous crosswinds allowed him to snare another 12 more seconds.

RUNNING MAN

The image which will ensure this Tour lingers long in the memory is that of the yellow-shirted Froome running, bike-less, to the finish line on the iconic Mont Ventoux.

Pandemonium reigned in the final kilometre of the 12th stage as encroaching fans blocked the road to the finish, forcing a photographer’s motorbike to stop short.

Richie Porte crashed into the back of it, with Froome and Bauke Mollema following suit. His bike was broken but not his champion’s spirit. He simply set off on foot until a replacement bike could be proffered.

GERAINT’S BICYCLE

A rare moment of drama for Froome, potentially more penalising than his fall on Ventoux. Froome hit the deck again, this time on a slippery descent as rain fell on the 19th stage. But again he didn’t panic, and Thomas came to his aid, handing over his bicycle for Froome to ride the final 25km to the finish, bloodied and bruised.

He lost a handful of seconds to fellow rivals but actually gained time on Mollema, thus again, despite adversity, extending his lead.

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