Sharjah – Flag Island, 28 February 2019 – مرحباً (Marhaban!) from Stage 5, the Sharjah Stage, of the inaugural edition of the UAE Tour (24 February – 2 March 2019), the only WorldTour race in the Middle East. The stage is open to attacks from far out, as well as a bunch sprint finale.
The peloton, 136 riders strong, passed km 0 at 12:31. Dossard nr 24, Omar Fraile (Astana Pro Team) did not start.
During the stage, 36 points are the maximum available for the Green Jersey (108 left in the race) and 16 for the Black Jersey (48 left in the race). There are a maximum available of 16″ time bonuses, too, 3″ in each of the two intermediate sprints and 10″ on the finish line.
Sharjah (12.20 – Start): Cloudy 25°C. Wind: moderate – 16kmh, WSW.
Khor Fakkan (16.40 – Finish): Scattered clouds 24°C. Wind: moderate – 16kmh, WSW.
Shaikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Sports Council [right] talking to H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council General Secretary
The Red Jersey, sponsored by Emirates (General individual classification by time) – Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo – Visma)
The Green Jersey, sponsored by ADNOC (General individual classification by points) – Stepan Kuriyanov (Gazprom – RusVelo)
The White Jersey, sponsored by Nakheel (Best Young Rider born after 1 January 1994) – David Gaudu (Groupama – FDJ)
The Black Jersey, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Aviation (Intermediate Sprint Jersey Classification) – Stepan Kuriyanov (Gazprom – RusVelo). Jersey worn by Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk)
1 – Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo – Visma)
2 – Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) at 21″
3 – David Gaudu (Groupama – FDJ) at 38″
Stage 5 – SHARJAH STAGE – Sharjah-Khor Fakkan – 181km
This stage, that links the Arabian Gulf with the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Oman), is another opportunity for the sprinters. After crossing the desert between the University of Sharjah and the University of Khalba, the route follows the coast north through Fujairah, up to the finish line in Khor Fakkan, where a bunch sprint is expected.
The final 5km are on ample roads, evenly surfaced and with divided carriageways. The final 3km feature several roundabouts, the last of which leads on to the 8m wide, tarmac final straight.
1 – SHARJAH, FLAG ISLAND
This Island is a testament to the accomplishments achieved under the United Flag. The Flag Island is opposite the Corniche area, next to the government offices complex in the Al-Laya area. It was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, on December 2, 2012, during the celebrations of the 41st National Day of the UAE. The flag post, which is the seventh longest in the world, stands tall on the island. The UAE flag waves high in the sky above Sharjah at a height of 123 meters, to represent honour, glory and pride. The organizers are keen to make the island one of the tourist, cultural and artistic destinations in Sharjah, and the country at large, as it carries a national symbolism represented by the mast upon which the flag is flying high above the UAE.
2 – AL MAJAZ AMPHITHEATRE
Under the patronage and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, Al Majaz Amphitheatre was inaugurated in May 2014 as a platform for the artistic, cultural and tourism movement in Sharjah, UAE, and the region, by means of hosting international cultural and artistic events. The inauguration of Al-Majaz Theater took place during the Sharjah Islamic Capital of Culture celebrations in 2014.This cultural edifice is one of the first architectural achievements of its kind in the region and one of the most ambitious and important projects in Sharjah. The theater mimics the Roman amphitheater style, which is an open-air, semi-circular theater that consumes an area of 7,000 square meters. It has a capacity of 4500 spectators, and the theater houses a large display platform for artists to perform. The theater is equipped with an advanced sound system of high quality and accuracy. This cultural landmark, located in the center of Al-Majaz Island, features service facilities including the conference hall, VIP board and boat marina. The Al-Majaz Theater is an architectural achievement that integrates with Sharjah’s architectural and aesthetic system. It is an initiative of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau.
3 – CENTRAL SOUQ
The Central Souq is an architectural masterpiece consisting of two main wings of a two-story building comprising eight blocks and connected with two extended bridges. One of these wings overlooks Khalid Lake directly, while the other overlooks King Faisal Street. The number of shops is 600 and split between 224 shops on each floor, 36 shops on each bridge and 80 shops on the stairs. The Souq attracts visitors who want to shop against a backdrop of elegance due to its rare architectural style; it’s a real architectural masterpiece. The market also attracts foreign tourist groups, especially those interested in buying antiques, souvenirs, goldsmiths and clothes, among many others.
4 – SOUQ AL JUBAIL
The biggest Souq for fresh produce and its extensive breadth of products in Sharjah since 1981, Souq Al Jubail has become a trademark that the audience trust. The Souq was inaugurated under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and was built according to the latest architectural designs featuring a unique style that makes it stand out. The design of the Souq is inspired by enchanting Islamic architecture, and was built to accommodate the greatest number of shops for the greatest number of visitors to enjoy. Further, we took special care in keeping the old style of Arabian Souqs as we will always commit to offering fresh, high-quality produce with the diversity that meets all tastes.
5 – SHARJAH CENTER FOR ASTRONOMY & SPACE SCIENCES
The Sharjah Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences was inaugurated under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University of Sharjah, in May 2015, to crown the celebrations of Sharjah as the Capital of Islamic Culture. The center aims to develop and promote astronomy and space-science education in the Arab World, in general, and the UAE, in particular, in order to be a destination for science, research, heritage, education and tourism for school students, university students, researchers and families of all ages. The center has many attractions, most important of which are: Planetarium, Astronomy Exhibition, Space Exhibition, Exhibition of the Universe in the Holy Qur’an, Astronomical Observatory and a Cosmic Park. The center has further facilities including a cafeteria and a gift shop for astronomical and scientific souvenirs.
6 – UNIVERSITY CITY
The city was founded in 1998 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the supreme president of University of Sharjah and the American University in Sharjah. The University City is the biggest campus in the world and is located in Sharjah. It combines universities and centers in the campus including: the main campus of Sharjah University; male and female students’ campus; fine arts faculty; medical colleges complex; the American University in Sharjah; high-tech colleges; Sharjah Police Academy and Sharjah Institute of Technology; Sharjah Library; campus conference room and Sharjah Educational Hospital.
7 – MLEIHA CULTURAL AND SPORTS CLUB
It’s a 1,900 square metre multi-purpose facility that provides diverse sports activities in Mleiha.
8 – FOSSIL ROCK
Officially called Jebel Maleihah, this large outcrop is better known as Fossil Rock, after the abundance of marine fossils that were formed at a time when much of Arabia was covered by water, and can now be found on its slopes.
9 – HAJAR MOUNTAINS
The Hajar Mountains divide the low coastal plain of the UAE and Oman from the high desert plateau. These mountains are an important ecological region, being the only habitat above 2,000m elevation in the area. Unlike the rest of Arabia, they host plant life with a number of endemic species. Many fruit trees are grown in the cooler valleys, while numerous birds are found in the mountains along with mammals such as the mountain gazelle.
10 – KALBA
Kalba is a town and an exclave of the emirate of Sharjah, famous for its peace, tranquillity and areas of natural beauty around its creek – Khor Kalba. This area is involved in an Eco-Tourism Project that aims to create a sustainable platform for tourism development inside the protected conservation area of Alqurm wa Lehhfaiiah, created in 2012 by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
11 – FUJAIRAH
Fujairah is famous for its beaches on the Gulf of Oman, which feature some of the country’s best snorkeling and scuba-diving spots, in addition to countless excellent cafés and restaurants. Just a few hundred metres from the beach, you’ll find Snoopy Island (named after the famous Peanuts cartoon dog that its shape resembles), which is surrounded by a coral reef occasionally visited by rays and turtles. Other famous local attractions include the country’s oldest mosque, the Al Badiyah Mosque, and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the second largest in the country with 65 domes and six minarets. Built in 1670 the Fujairah Fort is the former center of the city and was, for several centuries, the only stone building along the coast.
12 – AL RAFISAH DAM
The Al Rafisah Dam is a dam of Sharjah near the village of Al Rafisah. A rest area with tourist facilities was built alongside the dam as part of the Sharjah-Khor Fakkan highway project.
13 – KHOR FAKKAN
Khor Fakkan is a picturesque port town set on the beautiful natural bay of the same name, which literally means “Creek of Two Jaws”. Set along the Gulf of Oman, Khor Fakkan belongs to the Emirate of Sharjah but is geographically surrounded by the emirate of Fujairah. Its main attractions are the Corniche and the beach, with its coral suitable for diving and snorkeling.
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Photo Credit: LaPresse / Ferrari – Paolone