Alejandro Valverde and Rohan Dennis to be part of 2020 UAE Tour, plus new route confirmation

Sport360 staff 20:33 20/01/2020
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(Karl Jeffs and LaPresse)

After the successful inaugural edition of 2019, the second edition of the UAE Tour was officially unveiled today at the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences & Technology.

The route of the seven-stage race and the four leaders’ jerseys were also revealed.

The only WorldTour race in the Middle East, organised by the Dubai Sports Council, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Sharjah Sports Council, in partnership with RCS Sport, is scheduled from February 23-29.

The 2020 UAE Tour’s seven stages will embrace all seven United Emirates. The first stage will be hosted by Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm-al-Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah, the second will start in Dubai and include both Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, while the third crosses Sharjah, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The fourth runs entirely in the Emirate of Dubai and the final three stages will be hosted by Abu Dhabi.

The 2020 UAE Tour has a total distance of 1,177km with a significant elevation gain of around 3,500 metres, mostly concentrated into stages two, three and five.

Among the riders who have already announced their participation are last year’s UAE Tour runner-up and 2018 UCI Road World Champion, Alejandro Valverde, also winner of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour and two times stage winner atop Jebel Hafeet; two-times UCI Time Trial World Champion and stage winner at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour, Rohan Dennis; 2019 Giro d’Italia Maglia Azzurra (King of the Mountain) Giulio Ciccone, the young Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, winner of 2019 Tour of California, three stages and third overall at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana.

Alongside them are such famous names as the Italian road champion Davide Formolo, Adam Yates, Wout Poels (winner of the 2016 Liège-Bastogne-Liège), stage winner at both the Giro and the Tour, Ilnur Zakarin, and some of the best sprinters in the world, including: Fernando Gaviria – winner of five stages at the Giro, two at the Tour and winner of Stage 2 of last year’s UAE Tour; stage winner in all three Grand Tours and winner of Stage 4 of 2019 UAE Tour atop Hatta Dam, Caleb Ewan; Dylan Groenewegen (four-times stage at the Tour de France); Sam Bennett (winner of three stages at the Giro and two at La Vuelta); 2019 Giro d’Italia double stage winner and Maglia Ciclamino (Points Classification) Pascal Ackermann; Arnaud Démare (multiple stage winner between the Giro and the Tour, 2016 Milano-Sanremo) and Mark Cavendish, with 30 stages at the Tour de France, 15 at the Giro d’Italia, the 2011 Road World Champion and winner of two stages and the General Classification at the 2015 Dubai Tour.

THE ROUTE

The 2020 edition of the UAE Tour offers a mix of technically different stages, open to all types of riders, with the all-rounders most likely to win the overall General Classification category. It starts on Sunday, February 23 in Dubai’s Zabeel park with the Marjan Island Stage (158km), a flat opening stage to end in Al Marjan Island after passing by many landmarks of Dubai and Ras al Khaimah such as Dubai Frame, Zabeel Palace, Festival City, Mushrif Park, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Al Hamra and the Murjan Island.

The second stage on Monday, February 24, the Dubai Municipality Stage (203km) is the longest stage of the UAE Tour. Its route is a tribute to the classic Dubai Tour “Queen stage”, starting from The Pointe – Palm Jumeirah and finishing with the short, sharp rise of Hatta Dam, climbing 200m on gradients ranging from 12% to a maximum of 17%.

The following day, the peloton will start the third stage, the Sharjah Stage (198km), running from Sharjah to Rafisah Dam with the Rafisah Dam to be climbed twice before the final ascent. The route takes in numerous landmarks of the Emirate of Sharjah such as the Sharjah Municipality, Sharjah Flag Island, Sharjah University, Khor Fakkan, Rafisah Dam and the Sports City.

The fourth stage is on Wednesday, February 26: the Dubai Stage, 171km between Dubai Design District and Dubai City Walk. The route, suitable for the fast wheels of the peloton, touches the main landmarks of Dubai: Meydan, Trump Golf Club, Motor City, Sports City, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Jumeirah Islands, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Design District, Dubai Canal, Festival City, Mushrif Park, Downtown Dubai and City Walk.

The following day, the peloton will start the Al Ain Stage (162km) from the Al Ain before facing the Jebel Hafeet climb: with the finish at 1,025m after a 10.8km climb with a maximum gradient of 10% and average slope of 5.4%. The route runs along UAE University, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Ain Zoo and Green Mubazzarah before the epilogue on the Jebel Hafeet climb.

On Friday, February 28, the penultimate stage is the ADNOC Stage (158km) starts from Al Ruwais and pass by the Al Yash Recreational Centre, ADNOC School, Ruwais Mall,

Al Mirfa Beach before ending in Al Mirfa, where a bunch sprint is expected.

The Grand Finale, on Saturday, February 29, delivers a spectacular parade entirely in the city of Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Stage (127km) starts at Al Maryah Island and finishes at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater with what is expected to be a bunch sprint. The last stage passes by many of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s landmarks such as the Al Maryah Island, Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Al Maqta Tower, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Hosn and the Big Flag.

H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council Secretary General, said: “This year’s route of the UAE Tour will challenge every kind of rider and will crown the most complete rider who proves to be the strongest in the seven stages raced across all seven Emirates. It was our dream to have a world-class international cycling event which features the beauty and faces the riding challenges of all seven Emirates and, as the first edition already proved, the UAE Tour is establishing itself as an important appointment in the world cycling calendar. Moreover, this race represents a unique opportunity to show worldwide our country’s varied territories and reflect our goal to promote the seven Emirates beyond their borders through sport and especially cycling.”

H.E. Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary, added: “I’m delighted to unveil the second edition of this wonderful race, following the successful 2019 inaugural edition. The UAE Tour is the result of years of effort, passion and commitment from many people. I especially want to thank the Dubai Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Sharjah Sports Council, along with our sponsors and partners. As the world is watching, we are poised to deliver another world-class sporting spectacle which will contribute to the development of cycling across all the seven Emirates.”

THE JERSEYS

Red Jersey

General Classification: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the leader of the General Classification by time.

Sponsor: Emirates

Green Jersey

Points Classification: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the fastest sprinter, who has obtained the best positions in each stage and intermediate sprints.

Sponsor: Mubadala

White Jersey

Young Rider Classification: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the best young rider born after 1st January 1995 in the overall classification by time (U25), the name to watch out for in the future.

Sponsor: Nakheel

Black Jersey

Intermediate Sprint Classification: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the rider who has gained more Intermediate Sprint Points than any other rider.

Sponsor: Abu Dhabi Aviation

OFFICIAL SPONSORS OF THE 2020 UAE TOUR

Alongside the “Top Sponsors” are Stage Winner Mubadala and the four jersey sponsors, Emirates, Mubadala, Nakheel, Abu Dhabi Aviation, gratitude is expressed towards these other brands who are supporting the 2020 UAE Tour: Official car Audi Al Nabooda Automobiles, stage sponsors Marjan Island, Dubai Municipality, Sharjah Sports Council, ADNOC and, host broadcasters Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, Dubai Sports Channel, official partners Westin Mina Seyai Dubai and Castelli, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development , Authority, Tadweer, official suppliers – Hertz, Al Ain Water, Shimano, Bianchi, Sport360X and official supporters Cafe Peloton, Cycle Hub and Yas Cycle.

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