The route for the Middle East's first Women’s UAE Tour was unveiled at the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club on Tuesday, with organisers promising a “world class event”.
The four-day race, from February 9, starts in Dubai and finishes in Abu Dhabi, covering 468km with three sprint and a mountain stage, and taking in many significant landmarks.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), the UCI Women’s WorldTour race will run ahead of the fifth edition of the men’s WorldTour race, the UAE Tour, from February 20-26.
“Since its outset, the UAE Tour has provided a great opportunity to showcase the country’s landmarks and varied territories to the world,” Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said at the launch ceremony on Tuesday.
“It has also allowed us to showcase how the popularity of cycling has grown significantly within the region.
“Today we are excited to announce the routes and jerseys of the first-ever UAE Tour Women WorldTour race. We welcome the world’s best female riders to the region and introduce another world class cycling event to the WorldTour calendar.
“Showcasing the steps we have taken to promote professional women’s cycling in the region, this latest race represents a major milestone for the country’s development in the sport.”
The introduction of the UAE Women’s Tour offers cycling fans the chance to experience world-class racing within the region.
“We are proud to work with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and bring the UAE Tour Women to the region,” Fabrizio D’Amico, chief operating officer RCS Sports and Events and UAE tour director, added.
“The goal is to make this race one of the greatest and most important races of the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar.
“We truly believe it will bring the same level or excitement as the men’s race and bring new audiences to the sport.”
Stage 1: Port Rashid – Dubai Harbour (109km) Departing from Port Rashid and crossing the city, the route touches classic locations of the UAE Tour such as Ras al Khor, Meydan Racecourse, Umm Suqeim and Dubai Sports City to reach the base of Palm Jumeirah, and the arrival in Dubai Harbour. The entire route runs along wide, straight and well paved roads, interspersed with large roundabouts.
Stage 2: Al Dhafra Castle - Al Mirfa (133km) Starts from Al Dhafra Castle in the desert, and reaches Madinat Zayed along wide and straight roads. After the city, it crosses the desert again for more than 60km towards the coast, heading directly towards Al Mirfa.
Stage 3: Hazza bin Zayed Stadium – Jebel Hafeet (107km) The classic mountain stage of the UAE Tour. In the first part, the route winds through Al Ain and makes a passage through the desert, along the Truck Road E30 and returns to Al Ain for the classic passage of Green Mubazzarah. Here, the final climb of Jebel Hafeet begins.
Stage 4: Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy - Abu Dhabi Breakwater (119km) A stage around the city of Abu Dhabi, departing from the Sports Academy. The first part of the route heads northward to Khalifa City and then to the industrial area of Khalifa Port. It then converges on Yas Marina to go to Saadiyat Island, touching Louvre Abu Dhabi and Corniche, until arriving at Abu Dhabi Breakwater for a sprint finish.