Just 30 days left to the third edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour, the four-day race organised by Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) in collaboration with RCS Sport and under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman, Abu Dhabi Executive Council. This year the Abu Dhabi Tour can boast UCI WorldTour status; unique for a race in the Middle East. WorldTour ranking points will be up for grabs every day, a very important goal for each of the teams and riders. The vast majority of cycling’s elite teams will be at the start of the race (16 out of 18), and include some of the world’s best riders who have confirmed their participation.
The route will be similar to the first two editions: three stages dedicated to the sprinters and one to the climbers or brave puncheurs along a fast-balanced route, riding in between the desert and the sea, going from the mountains to the city.
The opening stage will take its now traditional route, starting and finishing in Madinat Zayed, and running entirely through the desert. New features are packed into stage two, starting from Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi’s business and lifestyle destination, and featuring as many landmarks as possible: in this tour of the capital city fans can follow the riders past iconic locations such as the Corniche, the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, Al Reem Island, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Old Al Bahia, Al Sadar. The probable bunch sprint will take place on Al Marina, close to the Big Flag. The third stage, as usual, is the mountain stage, where climbers and puncheurs will fight for general classification on the Jabel Hafeet uphill finish at an altitude of 1.025m. The grand finale is once again confirmed for the iconic Yas Marina Circuit.Stage 01 – MADINAT ZAYED STAGE / MADINAT ZAYED – MADINAT ZAYED (188km)
The first stage runs entirely in the desert, with the first and last parts of about 45km on straight, wide roads. Once in Liwa, the riders will face the first Intermediate Sprint, followed by a section in the desert with constant undulations over dunes (adding up to a significant total elevation) which is ridden first in one direction, and then in the opposite direction. After the passage in Liwa comes the second Intermediate Sprint, then the course takes the riders to Madinat Zayed by reversing the route of the outward journey.
A city path with only three proper bends, one to the right and two to the left (the final bend being to the left). The last kms are on wide, straight boulevards, punctuated by wide-curved roundabouts. The final km is straight on asphalt.Stage 02 – NATION TOWERS STAGE / ABU DHABI (Al Maryah Island) – ABU DHABI (Al Marina) (155km)
The second stage runs mostly in the city of Abu Dhabi. After the start the race goes through Reem Island, then along the Abu Dhabi Corniche for the first time before turning south on wide, straight boulevards. Here the route passes close to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and reaches Shakhbout City – site of the first Intermediate Sprint, with several roundabouts on the course – before riding through Al Shahama and Al Bahya – for the second Intermediate Sprint – then returning to Yas Island. The final part of the stage is raced on the Sheikh bin Zayed Highway towards the Abu Dhabi Corniche and the finish line. The entire route is on wide boulevards with “cat’s eyes” road reflectors constantly dividing the lanes.
The final 5km are on increasingly large roads with large semi-curves leading to the straight finish on asphalt.Stage 03 – AL AIN STAGE / AL AIN – JEBEL HAFEET (186km)
The third stage comprises both urban surroundings and mountains. The first part, inside Al Ain city, is all on wide roads with roundabouts and speed humps and is followed by a second part in the desert along wide and predominantly straight roads. At 15km to go, the route starts to rise slightly towards the final ascent, culminating in an uphill finish at an altitude of 1025m, following an 11km climb with slopes with an 11% gradient.
The final climb is on wide-ranging bends on a three-lane roadway. The gradient is mostly around 8-9% with a peak of 11% at 3km to go. There are short descents in the last kilometres before the final ramp with a straight finish on asphalt. Stage 04 - YAS ISLAND STAGE / YAS MARINA CIRCUIT (143km)
The final stage is entirely on Yas Island. There are 26 laps on the F1 Yas Marina circuit, each of 5.5km with three Intermediate Sprints as we count down to the finale. The first Intermediate Sprint is at lap 11, with 15 laps to go; the second at 10 laps to go and the last Intermediate Sprints with just five laps to go.
In 2015 during the Yas Island Stage, for the first time ever in a men's professional road race, live on-board bike camera footage was made available and used for live television race coverage.
On the perfect tarmac of a 5.5km Formula 1 circuit with wide roads and large, sweeping bends. The final 250 metres are on straight, flat asphalt.
The most prestigious jersey, the Red Jersey worn by the leader of General Classification by time, will be sponsored by Al Maryah Island. In October it was won by the Estonian Tanel Kangert.
Second, in order of importance, it’s the Green Jersey worn by the leader of the General Classification by points, sponsored by Nation Towers. It was won in 2016 by the Manxman Mark Cavendish.
The leader of the Best Young Rider Classification by time, born after 1 January 1992, will wear the White Jersey, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, which is also confirmed as the race host broadcaster; last year it was won by the French Julien Bernard.
The Black Jersey, worn by the leader of the Intermediate Sprint Classification and won last year by the Belgian Jens Keukeleire, will again be sponsored by Etihad Airways
16 UCI WorldTeams and four UCI Professional Continental Teams will start the Abu Dhabi Tour, scheduled from 23 to 26 February 2017 and organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport. The Abu Dhabi Tour is the only Middle Eastern race on the 2017 UCI WorldTour calendar. Each team will consist of eight riders.
- AG2R LA MONDIALE – FRA
- ASTANA PRO TEAM – KAZ
- BAHRAIN-MERIDA – BRN
- BMC RACING TEAM – USA
- BORA-HANSGROHE – GER
- LOTTO SOUDAL – BEL
- MOVISTAR TEAM – ESP
- ORICA - SCOTT – AUS
- QUICK - STEP FLOORS – BEL
- TEAM DIMENSION DATA – RSA
- TEAM KATUSHA - ALPECIN – SUI
- TEAM LOTTO NL - JUMBO – NED
- TEAM SKY – GBR
- TEAM SUNWEB – GER
- TREK SEGAFREDO – USA
- UAE ABU DHABI – UAE
- BARDIANI CSF – ITA
- TEAM NOVO NORDISK – USA
- GAZPROM - RUSVELO – RUS
- NIPPO - VINI FANTINI – ITA
Many of the best riders on the planet have confirmed their participation in the race, with names such as previous Giro d’Italia and last Vuelta winner Nairo Quintana, Tour de France runner up Romain Bardet, previous Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana winner Vincenzo Nibali, former Vuelta winner Fabio Aru and a number of other top-class contenders for the final General Classification victory. Among the sprinters we’ll see the very finest from the WorldTour peloton going shoulder to shoulder, wheel to wheel, including the Manxman Mark Cavendish, German duo Marcel Kittel and André Greipel and the new Australian sensation Caleb Ewan.