UAE Tour start in numbers; details of UAE Tour Official Fan Zones at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi and at City Walk, Dubai, The Educational Project presented to 2,000 students, and final stage of the UAE Tour Challenge anticipated.
Abu Dhabi, 21 February 2019 – The countdown to the inaugural UAE Tour continues, and as the final stage of the UAE Tour Challenge for amateurs and the opening stage of the UAE Tour approach, details are announced of both the UAE Tour Fan Zone and the UAE Tour Educational Project. Riders and officials will land in the UAE between Thursday 21 and Friday 22 February ahead of the seven race days from Sunday 24 February to Saturday 2 March. Following Sunday’s opening Team Time Trial are three stages suited for the sprinters, and three dedicated to climbers and puncheurs.
For the 20 invited teams, 140 riders are at the start – plus other 600 people who follow the race, such as members of the media, race management, jury, TV production crews, suppliers and contractors. As a WorldTour race the UAE Tour will deliver more than 15,000kg of team equipment from all the five continents, provide more than 4000 nights of accommodation and approve around 2,500 accreditations, including riders, team staff, VIPs, officials, media, TV production and sponsors.
A big attraction for UAE Tour fans are the pre-stage morning procedures. Each race day all the teams and riders are required to pass through a specially made signature podium to sign in. With English-language race commentary Iand against a backdrop of live music, and different kind of shows, entrance is free, every day. But that’s just the start for the fans…
After the sign-on procedures, the regular headquarters for UAE Tour race fans are the Fan Zones, open from Sunday 24 February, and throughout the UAE Tour, at Yas Mall, the capital’s ultimate destination for shopping, dining and entertainment right in the heart of Yas Island and City Walk, the self-contained shopping and dining area, developed by Meraas, which combines cafes and restaurants in an outdoor retail complex with a tree-lined esplanade and central fountain. The UAE Tour fans will find cycling-related activities, a kids’ area, a venue dedicated to the sponsors and a stage with a large screen to follow the race action live, plus other UAE Tour related content. From 24 February to 2 March the Fan Zone at Yas Mall will be open 10am to 10pm (to midnight during the weekend). While at City Walk the village will be open from 10am to midnight every day.
UAE Tour Educational Project is aimed at introducing children between 8 and 12 years old to cycling as a part of a healthy lifestyle and safety on the road. It is geared to be a first step into developing an interest in cycling at a young age, with the UAE Tour becoming a major event and inspiring and creating a connection for the youth of tomorrow.
In the last three years, almost 5,000 children from 30 different schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra have attended the Educational Project, which includes an hour-long presentation focusing on familiarizing students with the history of the bicycle, the benefits of cycling and safety on the road.
Thanks to the new UAE Tour, in 2019 the project involved more than 2,000 students from the following schools: Al Laalee school (Al Ain), Al Nahyaniya school (Al Ain), Hamdan Bin Zayed school (Abu Dhabi), Mubarak Bin Mohammed school (Abu Dhabi), YAS school (Abu Dhabi), Al Mawakeb School Al Barsha (Dubai), Al Mawakeb School Al Khawaneej (Dubai), Dubai National School Al Barsha (Dubai), Dubai International School Al Quoz (Dubai), Hatta school (Hatta).
The interactive presentation was followed by a Creative Art session workshop where the students were asked to draw their bicycle on a magnet with the UAE Tour logo shape. An Art Exhibition related to the Educational Project will be set up at the UAE Tour Fan Zones at Yas Mall and City Walk.
The final stage of the UAE Tour Challenge is almost upon us. The UAE Tour Challenge consists of four races, across which male and female amateur racers contest different jerseys for Time and Points races. It’s an updated version of the successful Abu Dhabi Tour Challenge and in 2019 more than 700 people have already taken part in the first three races!
The first round of the UAE Tour Challenge, an Individual Time Trial on Thursday 24 January was on the same course the professional riders will face on 24 February. Winner of the male race was Sam Stollery (Great Britain) with an average speed of 49km/h. The female race was won by Roisin Thomas (Ireland) with an average speed of 41/ km/h.
The second event, Friday 1 February, was in the environs of the city of Al Ain. The course was a tribute to the UAE Tour stage 3, the Department of Transport Stage, with the finish line at 1025m above sea level on top of Jebel Hafeet. The best male was Ryan Christian (Australia) with a time of 1:54:17. The best female was Yvonne van Hattum (Netherlands) with a time of 2:23:05.
In the third stage last week, Wednesday 13 February, in Dubai, at the Dubai Autodrome, participants had a precise time to finish each lap which is reduced for each subsequent new lap. Riders had to complete the lap inside the fixed time otherwise they were eliminated. Winners were Simon Henley (Great Britain) and Roisin Thomas (Ireland).
In the final stage on Friday 1 March the amateurs will face the highest mountain of the UAE territory, Jebel Jais. The road will be closed first for the UAE Tour Challenge, then for the decisive stage of the UAE Tour; the amateurs will finish 2 hours before the pros. Registrations are still available on www.theuaetour.com/challenge
Photo Credit: UAE Tour