After staging its first professional race, Abu Dhabi has confirmed that it will play host to the inaugural UCI Cycling Gala at the end of this year. The UCI Gala is set to take place at the Yas Marina Formula One circuit following the final night stage on Sunday, October 11. It will celebrate the close of the WorldTour season, with an award ceremony to crown the individual, team and national winners.
“Cycling in the UAE needs to host events such as the UCI Cycling Gala,” Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation, in a press release. “It means we’re on track to increase public approval, locally and internationally. This partnership is a confirmation of our strategies.”
The first Abu Dhabi Tour is due to take place between 8-11 October, and will be the last major stage race for most of the peloton. It consists of three sprint stages and one medium mountain day. The race will be capped off by a floodlit stage around the Yas Marina circuit, which has been hosting F1 races since 2009, with the peloton completing 20 laps of the 5.5km circuit.
Currently categorised as a 2.1 race, the race organisers are targeting the WorldTour and this shows that the UCI are keen to work with the Gulf nation. There is a gap in the calendar after the Tour of Beijing was discontinued at the end of last season. Il Lombardia on October 4 will be the final WorldTour race of the season.
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