Abu Dhabi: the new cycling destination in the Middle East



There are just two weeks to go until the UAE capital’s debut Tour, the international event that’s spearheading sport and cycling for everyone in the area
Abu Dhabi, 24 September 2015 – There are many reasons behind the UAE capital organising a four-stage Professional Cycling Tour, and those include the government’s plan to double the number of cycle paths in the city by 2020. But today Abu Dhabi is already an ideal location for active cyclists looking for a unique and spectacular scenery to fulfill their passion: cycling.”In organizing the Abu Dhabi Tour we’re not just aiming to spark the interest of cycling fans worldwide,” said Mr. Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. “Our plan is to change our own behaviour too. We need to show good examples, to create excitement around bikes, to inspire our young people to pedal because it’s great fun, and because it’s an ideal way to get fit and stay fit”.

Here are some of the region’s destinations that perfectly suit their needs:

Urban waterfront track
Discover the famous Corniche Road, an impressive 8km of manicured waterfront that includes separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, children’s play areas, cafés and restaurants – and the Corniche Beach, a stunning lifeguarded beach park. The cycle path is ideal for preparing for more challenging excursions.

Ride on an F1 circuit!
Every Tuesday from 6 to 10 pm you can ride on the Formula 1 Yas Marina circuit, an amazing experience organised by Active Life – a health and lifestyle program aimed at promoting outdoor activity, healthy living and wellness. Every week Active Life arranges a two-way traffic system on the circuit, with the option for steep a climb in front of Yas Central. There are 50 complimentary bikes for public use but bikes (and helmets) are also available for hire. Water is provided free of charge.

Cycle track in the desert
Al Wathba is a cycling track 40 minutes by car from the UAE Capital and next to the camel racing track. Five different loops (8km, 16km, 20km, 22km and 30km), one bar, a dedicated bike shop and a changing room with lockers and showers complete the offer of this track which is surrounded by the desert and is equipped with a lighting system for cycling at night.

Dune cycling at Qasr al Sarab
Riding the awe-inspiring sand peaks of the Empty Quarter – the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass – is now possible with fat biking at the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. It’s an amazing adventure across the Abu Dhabi Tour’s first stage route.

Discover Al Ain – The Spring
The toughest stage of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour is through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain: six oasis and the archaeological sites of Bida bint Saud, Hafeet and Hili on the caravan route from UAE to Oman. This area is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited settlements and it is important in the region’s cultural transition from hunting and gathering to settlement. Here, the local tourism companies organise cycling touring expeditions.

The Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport, will take place from 8 to 11 October. It consists of four stages covering a total distance of 555km; three stages favour the sprinters, while the remaining stage (the 3rd), finishing uphill after a 750m climb with gradients touching 12%, will probably decide the General Classification.

In the evening of the last day the Tour will have the honour of hosting the very first UCI Cycling Gala awards ceremony. It’s a unique event to celebrate the end of the UCI professional road cycling season and its stakeholders in Abu Dhabi.

Stage 1 – The ADNOC Stage (174km): 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 (129km): 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 (142km): 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 on 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.

SHIFT Active Media
Manolo Bertocchi
RCS Sport Cycling Press Office
Ph.: (+44) 1225 448333
Ph. (+44) 7979 241227
E-mail: manolo@shiftactivemedia.com
Tw.: @Shiftactive @ItalianManolo

RCS Sport
Stefano Diciatteo
RCS Sport Press Office Coordinator
Ph.: (+39) 02 25848758
Mob.: (+39) 335 5468466
E-mail: Stefano.diciatteo@rcs.it
Tw.: @rcssport – @stedicia

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