Yousif Mirza will be part of the final UAE Team Emirates selection for the UCI World Tour season as the UAE National Champion heads to China for the Tour of Guangxi from October 16-21.
The Emirati superstar will provide support for team captain Fabio Aru, who is looking to end his season on a high and get his first win in UAE Team Emirates colours.
Joining the two riders in Southern China will be team-mates Jan Polanc, Alexandr Riabushenko, Ben Swift, Matteo Bono and Oliviero Troia.
Commenting ahead of the race Yousif Mirza said: “This has been the most remarkable season for me – my second as a professional cyclist. I retained my status as the UAE National Road Race and Individual Time Trial Champion, as well as winning the Asian Cycling Championship Road Race.
“I’ve also had a fantastic experience with the team on the UCI World Tour, travelling the world competing alongside some of the best cyclists in the world. Riding in the UAE colours, on the biggest stage is the highest honour for me and I want to do the team and my great nation proud by giving my all in the final race of the season.”
Former Italian National Champion, Fabio Aru added: “I won’t be under a lot of pressure to achieve results in China; however I really want to do my best in this competition, in a new frontier of world cycling. I’m going to give my all to the team. We are going to try to light up the race and show off our jersey.”
The Tour of Guangxi made its debut on the UCI World Tour last year. The format and route is largely the same as last year, with the second stage being the only major change in that it will depart from the port region of Beihai and finish in Qinzhou.
The tour will consist of three flat stages and three hilly stages, with the biggest test coming on Stage five – the Queens Stage.
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.”