Some of the most familiar faces from women's cycling will be seen at the inaugural Dubai Women's Cycle Tour to be held here from February 17-20. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: History will be made as riders from 16 international women’s teams from 13 different countries line up at the start of the inaugural Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour in less than two weeks.

Among the challengers for the crown will be the UAE Women’s team as they line up against some of the best riders from top European outfits such as Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport, Andy Schleck Cycles-Immo Losch and UCI Women’s Continental team Ciclotel from February 17 to 20.

UCI Women’s Continental team Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport is home to the current Belgian national champion, while Canada’s Macogep Tornatech Girondins boasts an under-23 national road race and time trial champion in their line-up. Mexican outfit Agolico BMC, meanwhile, is home to last year’s Pan American Road Cycling Championship winner and Italy’s Aromitalia–Basso Bikes–Vaiano even features a 2019 stage winner of the prestigious Giro Rosa – the women’s equivalent of the Giro d’Italia.

In addition, there will be several teams whose formation alone has provided a breakthrough in the promotion of women’s cycling across Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Next generation

Noura Al Jasmi, Dubai Women’s Tour Director and UAE Cycling Board Member was pleased with the dawn of a new era for women’s cycling. “The calibre of athlete, and the teams that have registered to compete are of the highest level in the sport and we expect some fierce, quality racing over the four-day event,” Al Jasmi said.

“We anticipate this tour will inspire the next generation of young Emirati girls to follow in the footsteps of our current women’s national team and the possibility of representing their country on the world stage,” she added.

Under the patronage of Shaikha Hind Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum and managed by the UAE Cycling Federation with support from the Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai Women’s Tour will be contested over four stages. The opening Nshama stage will take riders on a 99km route from the start at Dubai Festival City, through some intriguing desert landscapes to finish at Town Square Dubai, the mega project on Al Qudra Road.

The Dubai Duty Free second stage will once again start at Dubai Festival City and pass the famous Nad Al Sheba racecourse in its 106km course to the Springs Souk. The General Authority for Sports third stage will be one for the climbers as riders head into the picturesque Hatta Mountains. The teams will start from Wadi Hatta Park and finish 90km later at the spectacular Hatta Dam.

The fourth and final Dubai Health Authority stage will once again take the teams back to the city, with the start and finish at Dubai Festival City. Riders will take a looping course around the Dubai Creek and through the traditional downtown area of the city before the first ever Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour champion will be crowned 112km later at the finish.