Friday cover: Mark Cavendish and cycling stars lined up for Abu Dhabi Tour

The National's Sport cover for the Friday, September 18 issue, featuring Mark Cavendish as the stars expected to turn out for next month's inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour were announced.

The National’s Sport cover for the Friday, September 18 issue, featuring Mark Cavendish and the stars expected to turn out for next month’s inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour were announced.

The race will see top-class professional cycling arrive in Abu Dhabi, with cover boys Joaquim Rodriguez and Fabio Aru, as well as names like 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Peter Sagan, competing in the UCI 2.1 classification stage race.

Osman Samiuddin has compiled all the critical information to digest the race, which will be held October 8-11.

He also previews in a separate piece what to expect:

“The field is a particularly high-quality one, ensured by the signing of a three-year agreement between Abu Dhabi Tour and Velon Group, which has some of the world’s best cycling teams in its stable, including Team Sky, BMC Racing Team and Etixx-Quick-Step.”

Along with Cavendish, writes Osman, “Joaquim Rodriguez, Philippe Gilbert and Peter Sagan are the foremost threats in a field that will include 18 teams of six riders each; the UAE will have two teams participating. Only each team’s lead riders were introduced.

“Cavendish will have to keep an eye on the Belgian Gilbert, in particular. Gilbert is a former winner of the World Road Race Championships and is aiming to repeat his 2012 win before he arrives in Abu Dhabi.”

Said Gilbert:

“The new race in Abu Dhabi is exciting and will introduce cycling to a new part of the world. I will finish my season there, and I would be proud to race the Abu Dhabi Tour in the rainbow jersey if I am successful in Richmond,” the venue for the World Championships, starting from September 20.

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