Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team SKY celebrates winning the 2016 Criterium du Dauphine, a 151km stage from Le Pont-de-Claix to Superdevoluy, on June 12, 2016 in Superdevoluy, France. Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team SKY celebrates winning the 2016 Criterium du Dauphine, a 151km stage from Le Pont-de-Claix to Superdevoluy, on June 12, 2016 in Superdevoluy, France. Photo by BrShow more

Tour de France preview: Third title would thrust Chris Froome into elite company



Chris Froome realizes he’s on the cusp of greatness.

The British rider already has two Tour de France victories and a third win in cycling’s biggest event – which starts Saturday – would make him the most dominant rider of his generation.

Another yellow jersey would also put Froome into an elite club of just seven riders who have won the Tour at least three times.

“Every rider obviously starts every new Tour equal and what has gone before counts for nothing,” Froome said. “This year I am hungrier than ever for success.”

Froome’s top challengers will likely be two-time runner-up Nairo Quintana of Colombia and Alberto Contador, the Spaniard who has won the Tour twice but took his last victory in the Grande Boucle back in 2009.

Froome is the defending champion and also won in 2013.

“There are a number of riders in other teams capable of putting in a challenge for overall victory,” said Dave Brailsford, team principal of Froome’s Team Sky. “That’s great news for cycling fans, who can look forward to seeing some really competitive racing.”

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The 21-stage race opens Saturday at Mont-Saint-Michel, a World Heritage Benedictine abbey perched on a rock off the Normandy coast. The picture-postcard starting stage ends at Utah Beach, where Allied troops landed on D-Day in 1944.

The 3,519-kilometre race scales the Pyrenees before the Alps, just as the Tour did last year, again going counter-clockwise around France. That breaks with tradition because generally the Tour alternates between clockwise and counter-clockwise.

With neither a prologue nor a team time trial, the route could favour climbing specialists. Still, there are two individual time trials in stages 13 and 18 totalling 54 kilometres (34 miles).

The 103rd Tour will visit three neighbouring countries – Spain, Andorra and Switzerland – and pass through 16 sites and stage cities unseen in previous editions.

The most difficult stage on paper appears to be the eighth leg, a challenging 183-kilometre route through the Pyrenees from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon that features the legendary Col du Tourmalet plus three more serious climbs.

Another serious test comes in Stage 12 with an ascent of Mont Ventoux on Bastille Day, July 14. Froome was the stage winner when the Tour last scaled Ventoux’s barren, 1,909-metre peak in 2013.

Ventoux was also the site of an epic battle between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani in 2000, and where British rider Tom Simpson died in 1967 after he used a lethal cocktail of amphetamines and alcohol.

After all the climbing and time trials, though, the race could be decided on a dangerous and technical 12-kilometre finishing descent to Morzine in the penultimate stage.

After this, all that will remain is the traditional – but mostly ceremonial – finish alongside cheering crowds on the Champs-Elysees on July 24.

Security will be tight, with France in a state of emergency since attacks on Paris in November killed 130 people.

The Tour will be protected by an unprecedented force of 23,000 police officers, including SWAT-like intervention squads.

The Tour will also hope to attract overlapping audiences from the European Championship soccer tournament hosted by France, which ends July 10.

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SPECS

Engine: 6-cylinder 3-litre, with petrol and diesel variants
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power: 286hp (petrol), 249hp (diesel)
Torque: 450Nm (petrol), 550Nm (diesel)
Price: Starting at $69,800
On sale: Now

Where to buy art books in the UAE

There are a number of speciality art bookshops in the UAE.

In Dubai, The Lighthouse at Dubai Design District has a wonderfully curated selection of art and design books. Alserkal Avenue runs a pop-up shop at their A4 space, and host the art-book fair Fully Booked during Art Week in March. The Third Line, also in Alserkal Avenue, has a strong book-publishing arm and sells copies at its gallery. Kinokuniya, at Dubai Mall, has some good offerings within its broad selection, and you never know what you will find at the House of Prose in Jumeirah. Finally, all of Gulf Photo Plus’s photo books are available for sale at their show. 

In Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi has a beautiful selection of catalogues and art books, and Magrudy’s – across the Emirates, but particularly at their NYU Abu Dhabi site – has a great selection in art, fiction and cultural theory.

In Sharjah, the Sharjah Art Museum sells catalogues and art books at its museum shop, and the Sharjah Art Foundation has a bookshop that offers reads on art, theory and cultural history.

If you go

The flights 

Emirates flies from Dubai to Funchal via Lisbon, with a connecting flight with Air Portugal. Economy class returns cost from Dh3,845 return including taxes.

The trip

The WalkMe app can be downloaded from the usual sources. If you don’t fancy doing the trip yourself, then Explore  offers an eight-day levada trails tour from Dh3,050, not including flights.

The hotel

There isn’t another hotel anywhere in Madeira that matches the history and luxury of the Belmond Reid's Palace in Funchal. Doubles from Dh1,400 per night including taxes.

 

 

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

The specs: 2018 Renault Megane

Price, base / as tested Dh52,900 / Dh59,200

Engine 1.6L in-line four-cylinder

Transmission Continuously variable transmission

Power 115hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque 156Nm @ 4,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 6.6L / 100km

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

The Intruder

Director: Deon Taylor

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy, Meagan Good

One star

What is the definition of an SME?

SMEs in the UAE are defined by the number of employees, annual turnover and sector. For example, a “small company” in the services industry has six to 50 employees with a turnover of more than Dh2 million up to Dh20m, while in the manufacturing industry the requirements are 10 to 100 employees with a turnover of more than Dh3m up to Dh50m, according to Dubai SME, an agency of the Department of Economic Development.

A “medium-sized company” can either have staff of 51 to 200 employees or 101 to 250 employees, and a turnover less than or equal to Dh200m or Dh250m, again depending on whether the business is in the trading, manufacturing or services sectors. 

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

Tips to avoid getting scammed

1) Beware of cheques presented late on Thursday

2) Visit an RTA centre to change registration only after receiving payment

3) Be aware of people asking to test drive the car alone

4) Try not to close the sale at night

5) Don't be rushed into a sale 

6) Call 901 if you see any suspicious behaviour

Opening Rugby Championship fixtures:Games can be watched on OSN Sports
Saturday: Australia v New Zealand, Sydney, 1pm (UAE)
Sunday: South Africa v Argentina, Port Elizabeth, 11pm (UAE)

BlacKkKlansman

Director: Spike Lee

Starring: John David Washington; Adam Driver 

Five stars

GOLF’S RAHMBO

- 5 wins in 22 months as pro
- Three wins in past 10 starts
- 45 pro starts worldwide: 5 wins, 17 top 5s
- Ranked 551th in world on debut, now No 4 (was No 2 earlier this year)
- 5th player in last 30 years to win 3 European Tour and 2 PGA Tour titles before age 24 (Woods, Garcia, McIlroy, Spieth)

In the Land of Saints and Sinners

Director: Robert Lorenz

Starring: Liam Neeson, Kerry Condon, Jack Gleeson, Ciaran Hinds

Rating: 2/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

The biog

First Job: Abu Dhabi Department of Petroleum in 1974  
Current role: Chairperson of Al Maskari Holding since 2008
Career high: Regularly cited on Forbes list of 100 most powerful Arab Businesswomen
Achievement: Helped establish Al Maskari Medical Centre in 1969 in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region
Future plan: Will now concentrate on her charitable work

Afghanistan Premier League - at a glance

Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Fixtures:

Tue, Oct 16, 8pm: Kandahar Knights v Kabul Zwanan; Wed, Oct 17, 4pm: Balkh Legends v Nangarhar Leopards; 8pm: Kandahar Knights v Paktia Panthers; Thu, Oct 18, 4pm: Balkh Legends v Kandahar Knights; 8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Paktia Panthers; Fri, Oct 19, 8pm: First semi-final; Sat, Oct 20, 8pm: Second semi-final; Sun, Oct 21, 8pm: final

Table:

1. Balkh Legends 6 5 1 10

2. Paktia Panthers 6 4 2 8

3. Kabul Zwanan 6 3 3 6

4. Nagarhar Leopards 7 2 5 4

5. Kandahar Knights 5 1 4 2

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat


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