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Stars assemble for the inaugural UAE Tour – Gallery

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Who is the pharaoh of the UAE Tour sprints?

Who is the pharaoh of the UAE Tour sprints?
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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The top riders pose with the gold-plated UAE Tour trophy

The top riders pose with the gold-plated UAE Tour trophy
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fernando Gaviria checks out a statue in the Louvre

Fernando Gaviria checks out a statue in the Louvre
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Alejandro Valverde is serious about his chances in the UAE Tour

Alejandro Valverde is serious about his chances in the UAE Tour
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Fernando Gaviria answers a question

Fernando Gaviria answers a question
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Tom Dumoulin smiles at the press conference

Tom Dumoulin smiles at the press conference
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Tom Dumoulin checks out an Egizian carving

Tom Dumoulin checks out an Egizian carving
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Mark Cavendish talks about the ancient stone carving

Mark Cavendish talks about the ancient stone carving
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) enjoys a guided tour of the Louvre

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) enjoys a guided tour of the Louvre
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Mark Cavendish seems to like his art

Mark Cavendish seems to like his art
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Elia Viviani jokes with fellow-Italian Vincenzo Nibali

Elia Viviani jokes with fellow-Italian Vincenzo Nibali
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Mark Cavendish seemed relaxed before the racing

Mark Cavendish seemed relaxed before the racing
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin)

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin)
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) waves to the crowd

Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) waves to the crowd
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali are early-season rivals in the UAE

Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali are early-season rivals in the UAE
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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All the big-name riders fill the stage

All the big-name riders fill the stage
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mitchelton-Scott on stage

Mitchelton-Scott on stage
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nibali, Valverde and Dumoulin: the three big-name overall contenders

Nibali, Valverde and Dumoulin: the three big-name overall contenders
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Sky fly the British flag

Team Sky fly the British flag
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gaviria, Cavendish and Viviani talk about sprinting

Gaviria, Cavendish and Viviani talk about sprinting
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The team presentation was held in the huge Abu Dhabi Louvre

The team presentation was held in the huge Abu Dhabi Louvre
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Novo Nordisk is flying the flag for diabetes sufferers

Team Novo Nordisk is flying the flag for diabetes sufferers
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The stunning roof of the Abu Dhabi Louvre

The stunning roof of the Abu Dhabi Louvre
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Local team UAE Team Emirates are under pressure to perform

Local team UAE Team Emirates are under pressure to perform
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Remco Evenepoel is part of the Deceuninck-QuickStep line-up alongside Viviani

Remco Evenepoel is part of the Deceuninck-QuickStep line-up alongside Viviani
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Viviani and Gaviria check-out the roof of the Louvre

Viviani and Gaviria check-out the roof of the Louvre
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The setting for the press conference

The setting for the press conference
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The riders pose outside the Abu Dhabi Louvre with the UAE Tour trophy

The riders pose outside the Abu Dhabi Louvre with the UAE Tour trophy
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali is unsure of his form after a spell at altitude

Vincenzo Nibali is unsure of his form after a spell at altitude
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The pre-race press conference kept the media and riders apart

The pre-race press conference kept the media and riders apart
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fernando Gaviria has made a full recovery after quitting the Colombia 2.1 race with illness

Fernando Gaviria has made a full recovery after quitting the Colombia 2.1 race with illness
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish during the press conference

Mark Cavendish during the press conference
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The EF Education First team

The EF Education First team
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The dramatic-looking Louvre Abu Dhabi provided the backdrop for the team presentation; pre-race press conference and photo shoot ahead of the inaugural UAE Tour. The seven-day WorldTour race starts on Sunday with 16km team time trial with two mountain finishes expected to decide the overall winner.

Saturday was an unusually grey day in the gulf but it was brightened up by a star-studded peloton. The riders had arrived on Thursday and Friday ahead of the opening stage on Sunday afternoon and shook off the jet lag by training for the team time trial. One rider that wasn't at the team presentation was Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), who crashed in training on Saturday morning and broke his wrist.

The local squad UAE Team Emirates were in hot demand, particularly their lead rider Fernando Gaviria, who the team hopes will deliver them plenty of success over the coming week. Gaviria will have some serious back up in Alexander Kristoff, who appears in good form despite crashing hard on the final stage of the Tour of Oman, while Dan Martin is their overall contender.

The race will start with a team time trial on Sunday afternoon before the sprinters get their turn on Monday. The middle part of the race will be for the overall contenders with hilltop and summit finishes at Jebel Hafeet, Hatta Dam, and Jebel Jais, on stages 3, 4 and 6 respectively, set to decide the overall winner.

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of each stage plus news and interviews from Sadhbh O'Shea in the UAE.