The UAE Tour will visit the summit finish of Jebel Hafeet twice this year after organisers RCS Sport were forced to revamp the race route due to roadworks in the Gulf country.
Stage 3, which was previously slated to conclude with an uphill finish at Rafisa Dam, will now see the peloton take on the 10.8km climb, which has been a decisive point of the race in each of the past two editions. The race will return two days later with a similarly flat route before the climb.
Meanwhile, stages 1, 2 and 4 have also been subject to major changes. The race start moves from Zebeel Park to the artificial archipelago of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, while stage 2 will get underway in Hatta rather than Palm Jumeirah.
Stage 4, on the other hand, retains its finish at Dubai City Walk, but will see its start shift across Dubai from the Dubai Design District to Zabeel Park. Stages 5, 6 and 7 remain as they were presented in January.
The alterations mean that the race won't visit the northern Emirates of Sharjah, Ajman or Umm-al-Quwan, nor the northern parts of Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah, each of which were previously included in the route. Instead, the action will largely be focused around the southern Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, aside from stage 2 to Hatta Dam.
Two summit finishes at Jebel Hafeet mean that the 2020 race equals the numbers of mountains visited by last year's edition, where the climb of Jebel Jais near the Oman border in the north also featured.
The 2019 UAE Tour was won by Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). His team took victory in the opening time trial and the Slovenian consolidated his lead with a win on Jebel Jais. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who finished second overall last year and won the inaugural edition in 2018, won at Jebel Hafeet in both years.
Esteban Chaves, Tanel Kangert and Rui Costa won atop the mountain during the race's previous guise as the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) will continue his sophomore season at this year's race. Valverde, Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren), Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) are among the other big names set to ride the race, which runs from February 23-29.
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.
2020 UAE Tour
Stage 1: The Pointe Palm Jumeirah - Dubai Silicon Oasis, 148km
Stage 2: Hatta - Hatta Dam, 168km
Stage 3: Al Qudra Cycle Track - Jebel Hafeet, 184km
Stage 4: Zabeel Park - Dubai City Walk, 173km
Stage 5: Al Ain - Jebel Hafeet, 162km
Stage 6: Al Ruwais - Al Mirfa, 158km
Stage 7: Al Maryah Island - Abu Dhabi Breakwater, 127km
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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