A change in format to the UAE’s cycling events has seen the launch of the new UAE Tour, which is set to take place in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
As excitement builds, the new logo and trophy were unveiled to fans this week. Weighing a whopping 5.5kg, the new heptagonal prize is 24kt gold-plated and bears the names of all nine winners of both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours on the back. The new UAE Tour logo, which shows the Tour name written in red and green, is also heptagon-shaped in reference to the United Arab Emirates involved in the event; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Quwain.
H.E. Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary, said: “The logo represents the unity between the seven Emirates and the trophy is reminiscent of the same concept. The new race is a big opportunity for cycling here, we know it and we’re working to be ready to be under the world’s spotlights at the end of February.”
Following the merger of the individual Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour, the new look challenge sees four stages included in both Emirates with the Dubai leg being held at the Al Qudra cycle path and around Hatta and the surroundings mountains of Hajar. In Abu Dhabi, the Jebel Hafeet stage is confirmed, while the second location, Al Hudayriat Island is new to the event.
Speaking at the launch event this week Mr. Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation, said: “Since the very first edition both the Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Tour got positive feedback from the global cycling community. Great riders attended the tours, with amazing coverage from television and other media. Also locally, the feedback was great: thanks to the two races, many facilities for amateurs have been developed across the UAE and the global exposure has made everybody more ambitious. The decision to join forces was agreed in a very special year for the UAE – 2018 is the Year of Zayed – and guaranteed two more stages. We can’t wait to see a week-long competition among all the Emirates.”
The UAE Tour is scheduled for 24 February to 2 March 2019.
Geraint Thomas’ Tour de France trophy has been stolen after being displayed at the Cycle Show in Birmingham, Team Sky have said.
Sky have been displaying all three Grand Tour trophies – which were won by Thomas and Chris Froome between September last year and July this – at various events across the country.
The trophies had been loaned to their bike supplier Pinarello for the Cycle Show, which was held at the NEC over the last weekend in September.
Sky say the trophy was stolen after being momentarily left unattended while the display was packed up at the end of the event. The matter is now the subject of a police investigation.
Thomas said: “It is incredibly unfortunate that this has happened. It goes without saying that the trophy is of pretty limited value to whoever took it, but means a lot to me and to the team.
“Hopefully whoever took it will have the good grace to return it. A trophy is important, but clearly what matters most are the amazing memories from this incredible summer – and no-one can ever take those away.”
Richard Hemington, managing director of Pinarello UK said: “We are obviously devastated about this. We accept full responsibility and have personally apologised to Geraint. Obviously we all hope that the trophy can be recovered.”
The racing continues to come thick and fast for UAE Team Emirates as they face three back to back events in Italy this week.
The team will line-up for the Tre Valli Varesine, Milano-Torino and at the Gran Piemonte.
Making his return to the Emirati team will be Rui Costa, who secured a top 10 finish at the World Championships in Innsbruck and will spearhead the line-up at Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday.
Supporting the former World Champion will be teammates: Andrea Bagioli, Matteo Bono, Edward Ravasi, Aleksandr Riabushenko, Ben Swift and Oliviero Troia.
Meanwhile, Milano-Torino will see the return of two of UAE Team Emirates’ stars – former Italian National Champion, Fabio Aru and Tour de France stage winner, Dan Martin.
The pair will join Rui Costa as the main protagonists of the team, with the trio relying on support from Andrea Bagioli, Filippo Ganna, Jan Polanc and Rory Sutherland.
In the final race on Tuesday, the Gran Piemonte, it will be Nicolas Tivani leading the line-up alongside Filippo Ganna, the latter of whom finished second in the Individual Time Trial (ITT) at the Italian National Championships last week. The pair are supported by Marco Marcato, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi and Rory Sutherland.
Sports Director Mario Scirea, who will guide the team over the three days, commented: “We’re expecting three interesting races in which we can line up some important riders. Rui Costa will find routes suited to his skills in the Tre Valli Varesine and in the Milano-Torino we will have several options, since Aru and Martin will also be there. In the Gran Piemonte, Tivani could have a good chance if the race ends in a sprint. We will try to make the most of the three races as we prepare our approach to Il Lombardia.”