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.