The copious set of races in the Middle-East culminates with the Abu Dhabi Tour 2018. After four days of racing at Sharjah Tour, five at Dubai Tour and six at Tour of Oman, the five ones that will take place for the second Emirati stage race of the season are concluding an intense month of cycling in the Arabian Peninsula. This event comes as a proper conclusion to this due to the World Tour status, obtained with last year’s edition. Twenty teams are lining up on the starting line of the Emirati race, which is held between 21 and 25 February. Seventeen of these are World Teams and Professional teams Novo Nordisk, Bardiani-CSF and Gazprom-Rusvelo complete the starting list. The former winner Alberto Rui Costa will be present in the ranks of the home team UAE Team Emirates.
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Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 Gold Book
2017 Rui Alberto Faria da Costa
2016 Tanel Kangert
2015 Esteban Chaves
Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 Favourites
A cavalcade of stars will cut through the roads of Abu Dhabi. Although the startlist is studded with several highfalutin names, some of these are at their first appeareance in this season whether other has already tested themselves. In this manner, Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 will be the first stage in which the principles will confront with each other. Former Abu Dhabi Tour winner Alberto Rui Costa, who was not in the best shape last week at Tour of Oman, is accompanied by Fabio Aru and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), the former on his seasonal debut, the latter who has already raced in Australia. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is for sure one of the most competitive contestant for the final victory thanks to the impressive condition shown in Spanish races. Nonetheless, the time trial works in favour of Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and alternatively of his teammate Wilco Kelderman, although the Dutchs have not raced yet in 2018. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), who won the queen stage of the Tour of Oman, Oro y paz stage winner Julien Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) and GP La Marseillaise and Tour de la Provence winner Alexandre Geniez (Ag2r La Mondiale) have shown a great shape throughout the last weeks and must be taken into account.
At the start of Madinat Zayed will be present last year’s runner-up Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), who will strive to release the second place achieved in 2017. Should be mentioned Bahrain-Merida couple made of Domenico Pozzovivo and Ion Izaguirre, BMC Racing’s one composed of Rohan Dennis and Damiano Caruso, Simon Yates but also Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott), Rafal Majka with Emanuel Buchmann and Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe) and Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac). Other contenders who can succeed in achieving a positive result are evergreen Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), who is back from a difficult season due to health issues and needs to deliver a negative year. Youngsters Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF), Bjorn Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal) and Sebastian Henao (Sky) conclude the roster of favourites of the Abu Dhabi Tour 2018.
As well as climbers-friendly stage 5, Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 sets aside three fractions suitable for sprinters. Elia Viviani (Quick Step Floors) showed at Dubai Tour that his sprint has improved considerably and his new train already hits it off but Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Caleb Ewan and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) are no less competitive. The synergy and the efficiency of Marcel Kittel’s new train is still to be proved and this event should be an occasion in which to prove Katusha-Alpecin strenght or at least to improve the harmony among the team. Danny van Poppel (Lotto Nl-Jumbo) showed a rediscovered self-confidence and aligns his name to the ones of the world’s most valuable sprinters. Riccardo Minali (Astana), Andrea Guardini (Bardiani-CSF), Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), Daniel McLay (EF-Drapac), Kristoffer Halvorsen (Sky) and Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) complete the list of fast wheels present for this race.
Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 Course
For the first time since the constitution of this event, the Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 will host 5 stages instead of 4 and, moreover, in the added day of racing is held a time trial. In this way, the course becomes more assorted and the outcome is not essentially determined anymore by the traditional up-hill finish stage in Jabal Hafeet. As opposed to stages 2 and 3, the first stage’s course, 189 kilometers from Madinat Zayed Edu Complex to Adnoc School, passes through the desert and could set aside surprises because of the wind, which might be a factor that must be taken into account. Stage 2, 154 kilometers through the streets of Yas Island, and stage 3, a trek by the city-centre of Abu Dhabi, are likely for a bunch sprint. The GC contenders will struggle on stage 4 along the 12,6 kilometers of which the time trial is made up of. The TT specialist are in advance on this course, which counts only five sharp turns over a dozen kilometers of gentle bends and long straight roads. Jabal Hafeet (aka Green Mountain), the only climb over 5 days of racing, will presumably be the crucial moment of the competition: gradients of 11% and an average of 6,6% over 10,8 kilometers of ascent carachterise the finale of the fifth stage.
21 February – Stage 1: Madinat Zayed – Madinat Zayed/Adnoc School (189,0 km)
22 February – Stage 2: Abu Dhabi/Yas Mall – Abu Dhabi/Yas Beach (154,0 km)
23 February – Stage 3: Abu Dhabi/Nation Towers – Abu Dhabi/Al Marina (133,0 km)
24 February – Stage 4 (ITT): Abu Dhabi/Al Maryah Island – Abu Dhabi/Al Mayrah Island (12,6 km)
25 February – Stage 5: Al Ain/Qasr Al Muwaiji – Jebel Hafeet (199,0 km)
Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 Stages
Stage 1 Planimetry
Stage 2 Planimetry
Stage 3 Planimetry
Stage 4 Planimetry
Stage 5 Planimetry
Stage 5 profile