Abu Dhabi to host US $1M Cycling Race of Champions
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Arabian Gulf state of the United Arab Emirates, will this November play host to the US $1million Cycling Race of Champions.
A cycling challenge pitting the individual winners and teams of the sport's three most prestigious European tour events into direct competition for the first time in the Middle East.
An initiative of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions - a 204 kilometre three stage event - will see cycling's elite battle through a challenging mountain stage up Jebel Hafeet, the emirate's highest point at nearly 4,000 feet which backdrops the garden city of Al Ain, flanked by two flat stages through the capital's main highways.
The Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions will be staged annually in the UAE capital for the next five years.
'This challenging event represents yet another significant coup for Abu Dhabi as we move forward with our ambition of the UAE capital becoming a sporting destination of international renown,' said His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, ADTA, which is sponsoring the event.
'This race delivers a dual-pronged strategy of taking Abu Dhabi's name to the world via extensive television and media coverage, and, bringing the world to Abu Dhabi with an international line-up of competitors and regional and local spectators.
'This is a unique opportunity for the public to view a World Title cycling event and to participate in part of the professional route that will be created for the event. With this public race, we are initiating a drive to develop the country's cycling cadre. This is in-line with the directives of our rulers Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Abu Dhabi Ruler, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, to encourage the sporting human capital of our youth and of the nation.'
The Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions is sanctioned by UCI ProTour - run by cycling's governing body Union Cycliste Internationale - which operates the golden triumvirate of Europe's leading races: Spain's La Vuelta, Italy's Giro d'Italia, and the Tour de France.
Competing in the Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions will be individual winners of Europe's three 'grand slam' cycling events, while the three winning teams from each will enter full teams of eight to ten cyclists, and six support personnel. Also competing will be one invitational team representing the UAE, and four wildcard entrants selected closer to the event.
Tarek S El-Kays, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi-based Kenzay, which is organising the Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions alongside management company Unipublic - which has 17 years experience organising the Spanish La Vuelta - said the event will quickly move up the international cycling agenda.
'While the Tour de France, La Vuelta and Giro d'Italia may be more presently high-profile, the Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions will rapidly evolve into the established glamour event on the global cycling calendar, bringing together the world's best for a one-off race of the sport's greatest names,' said El-Kays.
The opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions will follow a 100 kilometre route that starts and ends at the prestigious seven star Emirates Palace Hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf from Abu Dhabi's signature Corniche. It will loop around Abu Dhabi island, and several times around the downtown city centre to showcase the capital's key sightseeing attractions.
Stage two - the mountain race - encompasses an 82 kilometre route starting in the heart of Al Ain city circling the downtown area, passing Al Ain Zoo and then climbing up Jebel Hafeet.
The final 22 kilometre stage is a showcase of Abu Dhabi Corniche starting and ending at Emirates Palace Hotel.
The globally televised Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions will kick-off with a celebratory Pro-Am - again along the Corniche - which will create a community, carnival style event with professional cyclists, amateurs, families and their children.
'We anticipate six hours of live or delayed broadcast being taken up on a Pan-European basis, with heavy take-up in Germany, Italy, Spain and France - some of Abu Dhabi's key tourism target markets,' said Jorge de Sebastian Perez-Manglano, Commercial Manager, Unipublic.