British cyclist Mark Cavendish has been announced as the ambassador for the inaugural staging of the Abu Dhabi Tour in October.
The four-stage race, covering a distance of 555km, was announced in December last year by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and will take place between October 8-11 and is categorised as a 2.1 race. which is the third tier of UCI, the governing body of cycling’s, races.
Cavendish, who has won 26 stages of the Tour de France in the past, including one this year, will, as well as competing in October’s race, will take part in a news conference in September to promote the competition, as well as unveiling Abu Dhabi tourist and cycling attractions via his social media channels.
The 30 year old has already enjoyed success in the UAE, having won the second staging of the Dubai Tour earlier this year in February with the Etixx-Quick Step team as he finished six seconds ahead of German John Degenkolb after winning two of the four stages.
Cavendish said he was looking forward to racing in Abu Dhabi, and the final stage which finishes at Yas Marina Circuit, the home of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “I’m very excited to return to the Middle East and race in Abu Dhabi,” he said. “I’m sure it will be a great event to close the season. The route will be very nice for the sprinters so I hope to get some success — especially when there’s a chance to finish on an F1 finish. That will be very special.”
Aref Hamad Al Awani, the general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, is confident October’s race will be a success and also produce good racing. “The race is well balanced, it could be won by a sprinter with strength or by a one-day-race specialist, adept at gaining seconds on the climb [to Jebel Hafeet],” he said.
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