Less than one week after the succes of Jan Hirt in the Tour of Oman, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux pursues its race programme in the Middle East with the fourth edition of the UAE Tour (2.UWT, 20-26/02) which will start this Sunday. For the second time in a row, the Belgian team will begin the World Tour calendar in the event in the Emirates, which presents 1058 kilometer divided in four stages suited for sprinters, two mountain top finishes and an individual time trial.
The event starts with a stage of 185 kilometer through the desert, followed by a stage around capital Abu Dhabu which is also without difficulties. A 9 kilometer time trial at sea level awaits the peloton on the third day in Ajman, on the eve of the first of two traditional mountain stages. The top of the long climb towards Jebel Jais (18.7 km at 5.7%) will welcome the riders at the end of the fourth stage at an altitude of 1490 meter. The fifth and sixth stage, which finish on the artificial archipel of Al Marjan and the world exhibition site of Dubai 2020 respectively, offer two more opportunities for sprinters. The event is concluded by a seventh and last stage of 148 kilometer between the oasis of Al-Aïn and the Jebel Hafeet climb (11 km at 6.7%), which will decide on the final classification.
The selection directed by Valerio Piva and Pieter Vanspeybrouck will be lead by the recent winner of the Tour of Oman Jan Hirt (12th in 2019), who participated to all editions of the UAE Tour since its creation, Estonian rider Rein Taaramäe who also finished in the top ten in Oman and South-African climber Louis Meintjes who will celebrate his 30th anniversary during the event and pin his first number of 2022. They will be accompanied by Belgian rider Tom Devriendt and Danish rider Julius Johansen who will discover the race in the Emirates for the first time.
Stage 1 (20/02): Madinat Zayed – Madinat Zayed (185 km)
Stage 2 (21/02): Hudayriyat Island – Abu Dhabi Breakwater (173 km)
Stage 3 (22/02) : Ajman – Ajman (9 km) (ITT)
Stage 4 (23/02): Fujairah Fort – Jebel Jais (181 km)
Stage 5 (24/02): Ras al Khaimah Corniche – Al Marjan Island (182 km)
Stage 6 (25/02): Expo 2020 Dubai – Expo 2020 Dubai (180 km)
Stage 7 (26/02): Al Ain ) Jebel Hafeet (148 km)