The route for the 2020 UAE Tour has been announced, with a star-studded line up expected for the race.
The second edition of the race also welcomes Tour of California winner Tadej Pogačar, Giulio Ciccone, Davide Formolo, Adam Yates, Wout Poels and Ilnur Zakarin.
Along with Cavendish, the race – which looks to feature five or six sprint opportunities – will also see a number of other high-calibre sprinters with Fernando Gaviria, Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen and Sam Bennett all featuring.
The route presentation was held at the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy on Monday, with the organisers confirming that the 2020 edition will take in 1,177km and 3,500 metres of climbing.
The first stage (158km) is suited for the sprinters, while the longest stage of the race follows on stage 2, with the peloton taking on 203km from Dubai – Palm Jumeirah and finishing with the short, sharp rise of Hatta Dam, where the riders will climb 200m on gradients at a maximum of 17 per cent. Ewan won the uphill drag race there in 2019.
The following stage sees the riders climb Rafisah Dam twice before heading up it once again for the final climb to the finish. The fourth stage is designed for the sprinters, but stage 5 should decide the general classification, with the finish coming atop Jebel Hafeet, won by Valverde last year.
The final two stages are expected to come down to bunch sprints. Last year's team time trial, which saw Roglič take the lead before defending it to the finish, is not included, and neither is the Jebel Jais climb, also won by the Slovenian.
"For the second year, together with the friends of the Dubai Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Sharjah Sports Council, we are presenting this international event, part of the UCI WorldTour calendar, with great riders at the start," said RCS Sport Cycling and Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni.
"We are sure that the UAE Tour will continue to grow because it happens at a very interesting time in the cycling season and is characterised by a mixed route with stages suitable for many different riders. It’s a race with a strong international appeal, as with all our cycling races."
Cyclingnews will have coverage from the UAE Tour, along with news, race reports, photos, podcasts and race highlights. The race is the second WorldTour stage race of the season, following on from the 2020 Tour Down Under. Here we also share how to live stream the Tour Down Under, no matter your location, with ExpressVPN.