Esteban Chaves, Tanel Kangert and Rui Costa won the first 3 editions of the Abu Dhabi Tour. The fourth is coming soon, and the Middle East’s only World Tour race will be different from the past.
For instance, there’s going to be an individual time trial on the second last stage. The stages will be five in total, rather than four like in the past years. The time trial will get the game harder for the contenders, and this is what organizers were looking for. Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary H.E. Aref Al Awani said: “We’re working to make the race more appealing to fans and riders, and this upgrade represents a unique opportunity to make the challenge for the overall standings stronger and not only related to the mountain stage”.
The Tour is starting on February 21st and will be in the final mountain stage on February 25th. It’s going to be an iconic race in the desert, along the sea, in the islands and on the mountains of the Abu Dhabi area. The whole race has a total length of 686.8 kilometers.
Three stages are meant for the sprinters, and the new time trial comes before the classic uphill stage to Jebel Hafeet, closing the Tour at 1025 meters above the sea level.
17 UCI WorldTeams and three Continental Teams will be in the race. A race that is becoming more and more international, year by year.
Here are the new leaders’ jerseys made by Castelli, anatomically shaped for maximum aerodynamic performance during the race. And Abu Dhabi Tour and its sandy crosswinds are a very unique race.
Defending champion Rui Costa will be there and try to get the red jersey, together with other major contenders like Tom Dumoulin, Fabio Aru and Alejandro Valverde.
Brit Mark Cavendish was in Abu Dhabi for the unveiling of the 2018 route and Castelli jerseys: “Last year, I was very proud to wear Red Jersey as the leader at the end of stages one and two, and win the Green Jersey for the second year consecutively. I hope to repeat that success in 2018 and to be on the final podium again”.
Featured image credits: Tim De Waele