Cycling's stars gather for end-of-season celebration held in Abu Dhabi
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The 2016 UCI road season was capped off with the annual UCI Gala held on Tuesday evening, in conjunction with the upcoming Abu Dhabi Tour four-day race set to begin on October 20, the final road race of the year.
The event was hosted by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the United Arab Emirates Cycling Federation, in collaboration with RCS Sport. It was held just hours after the official 2017 Tour de France route presentation in Paris, and so many of the sport's stars were divided among the two events.
Those who attended the UCI Gala were newly crowned world champions Peter Sagan, who also won the men's WorldTour individual classification, and Amalie Dideriksen, along with 2016 Women's WorldTour winner Megan Guarnier.
“The Winning Spirit”, a unique Abu Dhabi Sports Council award for the rider who showed "tenacity, strength and indomitable spirit in achieving victory" this year was awarded to Elia Viviani, who overcame a late crash in the Olympic Games omnium to claim the gold medal.
Fabian Cancellara was also in attendance celebrating his final season as a professional cyclist before retirement. Those racing in the Abu Dhabi Tour, such as Mark Cavendish, were also presented on stage with their respective teams. They walked the red-carpet entrance in the venue and were treated to a special dinner, stage presentation and post-event ceremonies.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “It has been a standout professional road season for both men and women, not least on the back of the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and the inaugural UCI WorldTour for Women. The UCI Cycling Gala gives us the opportunity to celebrate some of the phenomenal performances from what has been a memorable season. The timing of this celebration could not be better, coming just days after the UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, a first in the Middle East, and on the eve of the Abu Dhabi Tour.”
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