Dubai, UAE, February 04, 2018: UAE Team Emirates' are targeting glory on home soil with the Dubai Tour (6 – 10 February) the first stop in a series of races across the GCC that includes; The Tour of Oman (13 – 18 February) and concludes at the end of February with the Abu Dhabi Tour (21 – 25 February).
The line-up for the Dubai Tour – the first race in the UAE for the Emirati team this season – will feature two of the team's newest members; former U-23 World Road Race Champion, Sven Erik Bystrøm and reigning European Road Race Champion, Alexander Kristoff who will make his UAE Team Emirates debut. The Norwegian duo will be joined by the UAE's very own, Yousif Mirza, Moroccan, Anass Ait El Abdia and Italian trio, Matteo Bono, Simone Consonni and Filippo Ganna, the latter of which recently claimed UAE Team Emirates' first podium position of the season, with a third-place finish at the Vuelta a San Juan. The riders will be led by Sports Directors Marco Marzano and Joxean Fernandez Matxin.
The Dubai Tour marks the second race of the season for Emirati rider Yousif Mirza, who competed alongside Filippo Ganna at the Vuelta a San Juan. He will be hoping to better that performance having finished with the main peloton in the first and final stage in Argentina. Commenting on his participation at the upcoming Dubai Tour, Mirza said; “I'm as excited as I was for the 2017 edition, when the Dubai Tour marked my first race with the team. I am highly motivated and I really want to give it my all on home soil. It's an honour to be able to cycle in front of my home fans and the support they provide is truly amazing. I hope I can help inspire the next generation of Emirati cyclists with an exciting ride this year. Last year I made a break in the second stage and we'll see if I will be able to make the most of my skills as an attacker in this edition, too.”
The Dubai Tour will see 16 professional cycling teams compete across five stages, all starting from the iconic SkyDive Dubai. Stage One will see riders tackle a 167km course that passes through Studio City and the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Sports Complex, before making its way west past the site of Expo 2020 and into Jebel Ali. A thrilling sprint finish could be on the cards as riders cycle onto the Palm Jumeriah and cross the finish line at one of Dubai's most famous hotels, Atlantis, The Palm. Stage Two's 190km route takes riders across four of the UAE's emirates; Dubai, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Ras-Al-Khaimah, whilst Stage Three will test riders' reserve as they make their way through the desert to the emirate of Fujairah. Climb specialists will be in their element during Stage Four, as the peloton tackles the 172kn route to the Hajar Mountains, finishing at the picturesque Hatta Dam on the border of Oman. The final stage of the tour takes riders to Meydan Racecourse and east, past Dubai International Airport before they take in some of Dubai's stunning coastline on Jumeirah Road to finish on City Walk, overlooking the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Commenting on making his race debut in the UAE, Alexander Kristoff said; “I can't wait to start my season with the new team. This will be my first-time racing in the Dubai Tour and I really like the idea, because when I went to the United Arab Emirates for holidays, I discovered what a wonderful place it is. It's going to be a very competitive race and there will be a lot of top notch sprinters. It will be a fantastic result if we manage to win a stage as it's always nice to start off a season on a positive note.”
As the UAE's first ever professional cycling team, UAE Team Emirates are looking to inspire the next generation of Emirati's to get on two-wheels and raise awareness as to the health benefits of cycling and the importance of leading a more active lifestyle. The team's participation at the Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour gives the community the opportunity to come together and support world-class athletes as they aim to become one of the top cycling teams on the tour.