UAE Tour’s fourth edition further strengthens region’s cycling culture

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The 2022 UAE Tour kicks off the World Tour cycle racing calendar on February 20, bringing the world’s best riders to a destination that is quickly becoming a hotbed of cycle tourism.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

In February 2019, the first ever UAE Tour began, taking a professional peloton of more than one hundred riders on a whistle-stop tour of the Emirates across seven stages of racing.

Won by Olympic gold medalist Primoz Roglic in its augural edition, the race has since continued to attract the very best, with two-time Tour de France winner and UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar taking overall victory at last year’s tour.

As the UAE Tour is set to take place from February 20-26, cycling fans now eagerly await the fourth edition of the one and only World Tour race in the Middle East, organised by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which is set to kick start the 2022 UCI World Tour racing calendar with a bang.

A host of household names in the sport are expected to race a route of more than 1000km in length, which will see the riders cross a diverse mix of UAE landscapes — from rolling desert dunes, to cityscapes, waterfronts and alpine-esque mountains. This year’s tour also coincides with another significant event for the Emirates – Expo 2020 Dubai – a world expo running from 1 October 2021 to March 31, 2022 that will host the start of Stage 6 of the race.

The UAE Tour is capturing the attention of the world’s cyclists, and supercharging the growth of the sport in the region as a result.

The race arrives in the midst of a new wave of cycle tourism to the region. Abu Dhabi in particular has quickly become a world-class cycling destination, courtesy of (in part) its expansive network of purpose built cycle tracks and urban cycling networks.

A 28km waterside cycling track at Al Hudayriyat Island and 40km of cycling track at Al Wathba in the desert has spawned a strong road cycling community in the area. This has, in turn, encouraged more than fifty community cycle races in the past few years alone. Plans are also in place to build Velodrome Hudayriyat – a track cycling hub with a spectator capacity of 3,500, which will further enhance Hudayriyat Island’s offering.

In addition, Abu Dhabi’s existing network of 300km of cycle-travel paths is also soon to be extended to 1000km in the near future. Part of this extension will comprise the Abu Dhabi Loop – a 109km segregated cycle-way linking key sight-seeing destinations around the city.

The fourth edition of the UAE Tour will no doubt serve to further bolster the country’s impressive cycling credentials and introduce a growing wave of cycling tourists to the region.

 

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