Tadej Pogacar 'hungry for more' stage wins at 2021 UAE Tour
UAE Team Emirates rider aiming to improve on last year's second place, as new route is revealed
A couple of energy sapping climbs to the top of Jebel Hafeet and Jebel Jais, four sprint stages and a 13-kilometre individual Time Trial will make up the route of this year's UAE Tour.
The third edition of the race comprises of seven stages, covering 1,045km, will take the competitors across five cities – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.
Leading the host team is the Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar in the first race on the 2021 WorldTour calendar that takes place from February 21-27.
British rider Adam Yates was declared the winner ahead of the Slovenian superstar 12 months ago when the race was abandoned with two stages left following the outbreak of the pandemic.
Pogacar is confident to go one better this time around.
“We just had our pre-season camp in the UAE and got to do some excellent training, especially on the Jebel Hafeet, which was great,” the UAE Team Emirates rider said during the launch ceremony of the race route on Wednesday.
“I’m feeling good and motivated to race. After the stage win last year, I’m coming back hungry for more. This is a huge event for myself and all the team and we will be here to fight for victories at our home race.”
With all 19 UCI WorldTeams in the mix, the UAE Tour will see the leading cyclists from around the globe in action, including five-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Tour of Flanders champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).
The race flags off in Abu Dhabi with a flat 177km run along the coast into Al Mirfa before the GC contenders come into action on the following day for a 13km time-trial loop on Al Hudayriat Island.
Stage 3 will see the first of the two summit finishes, the 162km route making its way to Jebel Hafeet.
Stage 4 is the longest of the race at 204km, leaving Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain, with a coastal run-in to an expected bunch sprint on Al Marjan Island.
Stage 5 sees the second summit finish of the race at Jebel Jais while Stage 6 takes place in Dubai, leaving the coast to showcase the 86km Al Qudra Cycle Track, before returning to the city for a sprint finish at Palm Jumeirah.
The race returns to Abu Dhabi for the finish, starting on Yas Island and ending along the city’s breakwater after 147km.
Fabrizio D’Amico, RCS Sports and Events DMCC chief operating officer, said this year route includes an Individual Time Trial to make the race more challenging and exciting.
“The race will cross areas of the UAE unseen before, providing the unprecedented opportunity to showcase beautiful and breathtaking landmarks,” he said.
Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said the third edition of the UAE Tour marks the golden jubilee of the UAE National Day.
“This race is not just the one and only WorldTour event in the Middle East but the result of years of effort, passion and commitment from many people in our country,” he said.
“As the world is watching, we are poised to deliver another world-class sporting spectacle which will contribute to the development of cycling across the Emirates while promoting our unique territory.”
Saeed Hareb, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council added: “Hosting the UAE Tour this year, in these challenging times, with all 19 UCI World Teams taking part, is a testimony to our success as a nation in the fight against Covid-19, and a vote of confidence in UAE’s ability to host top international sporting events in a completely safe environment.”
Published: January 28, 2021 11:56 AM