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"Big names and the best teams, including seven squads from the Velon group, assure an amazing competition across the four stages to attract the gaze of the world’s media. We are very proud and ready to host and show our asse...

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ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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MARCEL KITTEL

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MARK CAVENDISH

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PETER SAGAN

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PHILIPPE GILBERT

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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17.09.2015 @ 11:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mark Cavendish, Abu Dhabi Tour Official Ambassador, will be in good company from October 8 to 11. The first edition of the UAE capital race will be honoured by the presence of the best WorldTour teams and some of the biggest stars of the 2015 season, including the recent winner of the Vuelta a España, Fabio Aru, his teammate Vincenzo Nibali and the leader of the 2015 UCI ranking, the spaniard Alejandro Valverde. 

Racing for the BMC Racing Team will be the former World Champion Philippe Gilbert; Team Katusha will be led by Joaquin “Purito” Rodriguez who is currently second overall in the UCI World ranking; the sprinters will be well represented by, of course, Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) together with the German Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Alpecin). Five great puncheurs – Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Richie Porte (Team Sky), Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant - Alpecin) – will be also looking for a win. Asia is represented by Chinese riders Ji Cheng (Team Giant-Alpecin) and Xu Gang (Lampre-Merida), while Colombian Carlos Quintero represents South America. Riders from all over the globe will kick off the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour.

Commenting on Abu Dhabi Tour starting list, Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) said: “Abu Dhabi Tour has the will to become a reference in the international calendar. Big names and the best teams, including seven squads from the Velon group, assure an amazing competition across the four stages to attract the gaze of the world’s media. We are very proud and ready to host and show our assets to the cycling world”.

The Teams
As a class 2.1 race, 18 teams (including 10 WorldTeams and 5 Professional Continental teams) consisting of 6 riders will race the Abu Dhab Tour. These teams and their lead riders are:

ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ) - Nibali, Aru
BMC RACING TEAM (USA) - Gilbert
BORA-ARGON 18 (GER) - Buchmann
COLOMBIA (COL) - Quintero
DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING (AUS) - Brown
ETIXX - QUICK STEP (BEL) - Cavendish
LAMPRE - MERIDA (ITA) - Ulissi, Xu Gang
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP) - Valverde
MTN - QHUBEKA (RSA) - Teklehaimanot
ORICA GreenEDGE (AUS) - Matthews, Chaves
SKYDIVE DUBAI PRO CYCLING TEAM - AL AHLI CLUB (UAE) - Al Murawwi
TEAM GIANT - ALPECIN (GER) - Kittel, Dumoulin, Ji Cheng
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS) - Rodriguez
TEAM SKY (GBR) - Porte
TEAM WIGGINS (GBR) - Patten
TINKOFF - SAXO (RUS) - Sagan
UAE NATIONAL TEAM - Yousif Mirza
UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM (USA) - Brajkovic

 

ROUTE INFORMATION
Stage 1 – The ADNOC Stage (175km): The entire stage takes place in the stunning Rub al Khali desert, part of Abu Dhabi’s Western Region. Starting among the red sand dunes that surround the beautiful Qasr Al Sarab Resort, the undulating race route accrues around 1,200m of vertical climbing. The riders will trace a ring around Liwa and the nearby oasis, passing through the town twice. The riders then head north along straight roads for 55km, with the slightest of downhill gradients, as far as the town of Madinat Zayed. After the first crossing of the finish line, the peloton then enters a final 15km loop, to be ridden just once. A mass sprint is expected, although the desert winds could influence the outcome.

Stage 2 – The Capital Stage (130km): A flat stage across the city, starting at the Yas Marina Circuit and heading towards the southern part of the city along wide and mostly straight roads. After the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Exhibition Hall, the peloton turns back on itself, returning to Yas Island, then follows the Corniche until the Emirates Palace. There the riders will face a U-turn, cycling again alongside the Corniche until Yas Island, where the finish line is positioned next to the Yas Mall. Again, a mass sprint is expected.

Stage 3 – The Al Ain Stage (140km): The toughest stage of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour. Starting from Al Qattara Souq, the first 33km follow a series of broad, straight roads, then the peloton will trace a wide circle around the city, crossing the Green Mubazzarah oasis before starting the final climb. 11km long, the Jebel Hafeet ascent reaches an altitude of 1,000m on gradients that average 7.5% and touch 12% on the lower slopes. The climb, on wide, well surfaced roads and with long, sweeping bends, eases into a short descent with 1.5km to go, before resuming a shallow climb to the finish line. The final climb will, in all probability, decide the General Classification.

Stage 4 – The Yas Stage (110km): The entire stage takes place at night, under the floodlights of the Yas Marina Circuit. 110km at night under the floodlights of the F1 Circuit. The peloton will complete 20 laps (5.5km each) culminating in the last Abu Dhabi Tour sprint. The circuit is wide and the surface is in impeccable condition.

 

RIDER REACTIONS

Etixx - Quick-Step and Abu Dhabi Tour Official Ambassador, Mark Cavendish said: "I’m real excited about racing in the Abu Dhabi Tour as the season’s grand finale. It’s a beautiful country with a growing fan base in cycling. The organisers are putting on a great race that is sprinter friendly race but with the overall winner being decided on Stage 3 on the summit finish up Jebel Hafeet for sure. So there is something for all the top riders and teams. The best and most unique stage of the race will be the final stage on the Yas Marina Formula 1 race track at night under lights - criterium style racing with 20 laps of 5.5km. Brilliant for the fans and a special occasion for the riders and teams too. What a way to finish the race season for everyone."

 

BMC Racing Team’s Philippe Gilbert, 2012 road World Champion and double-stage winner at this year's Giro d'Italia, said: "The new race in Abu Dhabi is exciting and will introduce cycling to a new part of the world. I will finish my season there, and I would be proud to race the Abu Dhabi Tour in the rainbow jersey if I am successful in Richmond".

 

 

Team Giant-Alpecin’s Marcel Kittel said: "I'm happy to race at the Abu Dhabi Tour and I am looking forward to being part of the first edition of this race".

 

Lampre - Merida’s Diego Ulissi said: "Abu Dhabi Tour is scheduled at the end of a long season, nevertheless many top riders will be battling on Abu Dhabi roads: it's something very interesting and exciting, all the cycling fans will have an extra appointment to enjoy. I accepted the idea of participating in the race, I like the idea of trying to be protagonist in Abu Dhabi".

 

Michael Matthews, Orica GreenEDGE said: “I’m really looking forward to be racing in Abu Dhabi. It would be the perfect opportunity to finish the season on a high note. The style of racing that I think we’ll see there really suits our team and we are all ready to go there and chase some success. It’s great to see new races like this on the calendar – as riders we’re proud to bring racing to a new audience”.

 

 

PARTNERSHIP WITH VELON

The partnership between the Velon and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) to support and develop the Abu Dhabi Tour has secured the commitment of Velon teams and their top riders for three years (2015-2017), together with marketing and technology support to enhance and promote the race and its #RideToAbuDhabi campaign. As was announced on 8th September, under the partnership, Velon will continue to bring new technology and innovation to the heart of the fan experience with on-bike and behind the scenes footage at the 2015 edition and, with ADSC’s support, further innovations in future years.

 

Velon CEO Graham Bartlett said: "The Velon teams have got behind the Abu Dhabi Tour and worked hard to field a fantastic bunch of riders for this new end of season race; the Abu Dhabi Tour is going to be incredibly exciting and we're looking forward to bringing its drama and spectacle to the fans."

 

BMC Racing Team’s President/General Manager, Jim Ochowicz said: "This race extends our footprint in the Middle East, which has been very productive for us in past years. With the addition of the Abu Dhabi Tour next month, it gives the BMC Racing Team another opportunity to grow our reach into new markets".

 

Patrick Lefevere CEO of Etixx - Quick-Step said: "I think it is very important to be present in Abu Dhabi, a place where sport is highly regarded as a vehicle of communication and promotion, as can be seen in the reception of the GP and Formula 1 events. Going to Abu Dhabi would take our sport a step further. It will also be interesting to wrap up the season with a Gala that will celebrate the year of racing and the brightest stars, as other sports already do. I consider it a great opportunity to promote cycling on an international scale and I hope that both the race and the Gala can enjoy the proper international exposure."

 

Iwan Spekenbrink, CEO of Team Giant-Alpecin said: "As a team we are looking forward to participating in the Abu Dhabi Tour. It will be a prestigious and important race for all the riders and teams. Our team aims to be competitive there and contribute to the success of this appealing new race”.

 

Lampre - Merida Team Manager Brent Copeland said: "We at Lampre - Merida are very pleased with this latest cooperation between Velon and Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) in order to come to this important venture, we are definitely looking forward to the excitement of racing in Abu Dhabi, looking at the race route and the quality of talented rides the teams and ADSC have managed to put together we are sure it will make for fantastic racing".

 

 

Orica GreenEDGE’s General Manager Shayne Bannan said: “We are very happy to compete in this very first edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour. It is always exciting for us to race in this part of the world and adding this race to our calendar has given us another possibility to bring cycling to new fans and stakeholders. Being there as a Velon team also underlines our big support and engagement in this group and we’re excited to be part of this new, positive development in professional cycling. Orica GreenEDGE certainly plans to bring a strong team to make our mark in Abu Dhabi”.

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