UAE Cycling Federation’s Dubai Eye 103.8 UAE Road Cycling Championship returns for the 2018/2019 season.
Boasting four stages, the series will commence on Friday October 12 with the first of two challenging climbing stages – the 77-kilometre Kalba Hills stage.
“The most direct feedback from we had from competitors of the inaugural series in January and March this year was to make the stages more challenging and interesting. We’re excited to be announcing this season to have increased the stages from two to four, and also to include three recognised disciplines of road cycling being; climbing, time trialing and sprinting, throughout the four stages, which will test the cyclist and crown the best overall athlete as champions in each category,” said Jeff O’Brien, Managing Partner Onside Sports and UAE Road Cycling Championship organiser.
Stage 2 will be a 23-kilometre Individual Time Trial held at Meeras’s ‘The Outlet Village’ (Jebel Ali) on October 26, followed by the second grueling climbing stage, a 70-kilometer ascent of the formidable Jebel Jais mountain, the UAE’s highest mountain, in Ras Al Khaimah. The 2018/2019 edition’s champions will then be decided at the fourth and final stage, a 95-kilometer flat stage starting and finishing at Dubai Sports City’s Rugby Park, which will create an exciting sprint finish for the title. The 2018-19 champions will be crowned at Dubai Sports City, after the conclusion of Stage 4, which will see them take both their accolade and their ‘Champion Jersey’ through to the 2019/2020 series.
“We were very encouraged with the response to UAE Road Cycling Championship’s Inaugural race, and, after reviewing what is a very busy annual calendar for the Federation, we are exceptionally pleased to secure these dates and bring the second series to the UAE’s burgeoning cycling community.” said Abdulnasser Omran Al Shamsi , UAE Cycling Federation Secretary General.
“It is vitally important for the Federation to continue to provide the amateur cycling community opportunities to compete in professionally managed events, and be recognised for their achievements. We are very grateful to the Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai authorities for their continued support and commitment to our sport, and making it safe for all.”
Open to all competent amateur cyclists, the race’s main categories are; Emirati Men, Emirati Women, Expatriate Men and Expatriate Women. Each stage will see a stage-winner, as well as stage age division-winners recognised.
Registrations are now open via www.premieronline.com and more information can be found on www.uaecycf.com.
UAE Team Emirates have signed Swiss rider Tom Bohli on a two-year deal.
The 24-year-old, who joins from BMC Racing, will bring his impressive skills as rouleur and time trialist to the Emirati formation for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Since turning professional in 2016, the Rieden native has clinched victory at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, as well as stage wins at Eneco Tour (2016) and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2017). He also took third at the Swiss National Road Championships in May.
“I’m excited about my move to UAE Team Emirates,” said Bohli.
“For the first time in my career I’m changing jerseys, joining a sports group that’s quite different than the one I grew up in.
“I know I’m going to find a highly professional atmosphere founded upon an important project; I’m sure the conditions will be perfect for me to give my best.”
Thomas, who succeeded four-time winner Froome in the Tour’s yellow jersey in July, has agreed a new three-year contract with the British team which expires in 2021.
The Welshman says there are no leadership guarantees in the contract, but he believes, just like in July, he will be given opportunities if he proves capable.
“As long as I am good enough, I will get those chances like this year,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be the leader if I wasn’t flying. That is not in my character. I am happy.”
Thomas has been with Team Sky since their inception in 2010.
“It was good to finally get it signed and sorted,” he added. “I am really happy. Obviously I listened to other teams and things.
“(But) at the end of the day, I sat down and thought about it properly. I feel at home with the team. This is the best place for me to be at my best. Why change it?”
The contract was announced ahead of the final stage of the Tour of Britain in central London on Sunday.
Both Thomas and Froome completed their gruelling seasons at the race.
Froome, who won May’s Giro d’Italia and was runner-up in France to Thomas, has made no secret of his wish to target a record-equalling fifth Tour.
Froome said: “It’s not competition. It just makes the team stronger.
“It’s something to worry about for our rivals. Now they’ve got to race two of us, not just one.
“It worked this year. It made it even better for us having two guys up there and we ended up with two guys on the podium in Paris. Happy days.”
Thomas is a two-time Olympic champion on the track, winning team pursuit gold at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics.
After prioritising the track in 2012, missing Sir Bradley Wiggins’ first Tour win by a Briton, Thomas became an integral team-mate of Froome as he won the 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Tours.
Although he will be 35 by the end of the contract, Thomas does not believe the deal will be his last.
“I definitely feel like I have a few more years left in me, for sure,” he said. “I have always said from the start, it feels like every year I am getting better and better.
“The track years certainly prolonged that. We will see.”