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Abu Dhabi and Dubai merge to make one-week WorldTour stage race

Joe Robinson
14 Mar 2018

Cycling in the Middle East set to strengthen as two races merge into week-long stage race

The Abu Dhabi and Dubai stage races will combine for 2019 to create a one-week WorldTour stage race throughout the Emirates. Announced today at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai sports council, it was confirmed that the two races would merge for next season in order to increase the impact of cycling within the area. 

Speaking at the signing, general secretary of the Abu Dhabi sports council Aref Al Awani shed some light on what the Tour of the Emirates is set to look like.

'It will be a seven-day, seven-stage and that will allow us to pass through all the Emirates,' he said.

'This is our aim and we hope that all the Emirates participate in it. The distance will vary from stage to stage but in seven Emirates we have more places to discover,' added Al Awani.

'We have approached the UCI to get the name changed and for the approval for the seven stages. The only thing that is under discussion is how to fit the race in the best possible time of the year.'

Organisers expect for the new race to take place in February, the same as the two aforementioned races. Due to extreme climates, the race will be restricted as to when it can take place.

In previous years, both the Abu Dhabi Tour and Dubai Tour have attracted some of the sport's biggest names. This year's Abu Dhabi race saw Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) pick up overall victory with Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) and Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) taking stages.

The Dubai Tour also attracted a high calibre of riders with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-JumboNL) both taking stage victories.

The merge of these two stage races is another display of the Middle East's eagerness to crack the cycling market.

Currently two teams, UAE-Team Emirates and Bahrain-Merida, are backed by Gulf nations with three stage races in the area. In 2016, Doha, Qatar, held the UCI World Championships.

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