Team Sunweb competes
Team Sunweb competes during the first stage of the UAE tour in Abu Dhabi last year. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The second edition of the UAE Tour, the UCI World Tour race in the Middle East so far, will traverse the seven emirates of the country from February 23-29.

Announcing the dates of the Tour, which is jointly hosted by Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah Sports Councils along with RCS Sport, the organisers hoped the seven-day event will succeed in striking a bond between the communities.

The Tour will start in Dubai and finish in Abu Dhabi after showcasing the beauty and landscape of all seven emirates.

“The UAE Tour has brought together the entire nation with the sport of cycling at the centre. We want to push this goal even further and perhaps add more to the social awareness about this event as cycling is now part of the lifestyle of many people,” Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), told media at the formal announcement of the second edition of the event on Monday.

“In the UAE we dream big. In just one year, everyone has contributed towards an impeccable event like the UAE Tour. It’s a great concept of bringing the country together. This is the only UCI World Tour event in this region and this is quite an achievement. We have earned this, both from the global point of view and the organisational aspect. But now we’ve got to see how we can maximise the impact of such an event,” he added.

Saeed Hareb, general secretary of DSC, who has overseen the organisation of the Dubai Tour before the merger of Tours, insisted that the new event has a lot of responsibilities. “We need to unite people in keeping with the direction shown by our leaders and at the same time we need to educate the community while reaching out to schools and educational institutions as to where our future lies,” Hareb said.

Eisa Hilal Al Hazami, general secretary of Sharjah Sports Council, admitted that such an event is continuing the vision of the UAE leaders. “We have a strategic goal of reflecting the unity and spirit of this country. As a nation we have positioned ourselves globally through various events. The UAE Tour is one such event that portrays the right texture, diversity and spirit of the UAE to the world,” Al Hazami noted.

After the press conference, Audi was unveiled as the official car of the UAE Tour in the presence of Ali Al Naboodah, general manager, Al Naboodah Automobiles.

UAE Tour in numbers

20 teams, 140 riders

7 stages, totalling 1,073 kms across seven emirates

70,000-plus social media fans

2,700 hours international TV coverage

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