By Bernd Debusmann Jr
The second edition of the event is scheduled to take place between February 23 and 27, 2020
Next year’s UAE Tour cycling event hopes to surpass the more famous Tour De France and Giro d’Italia events, according to Aref Al Awani, the general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The seven-stage event, which will run across every emirate of the UAE, is scheduled to take place between February 23 and 27 next year, organisers announced at a press conference in Dubai on Monday.
The event will mark the second edition of the UAE Tour, which was born of a merger between the Abu Dhabi Tour and Dubai Tour events. It will also be the third event in the UCI WorldTour calendar, and is one of only two slated to be held in Asia alongside one in Guangxi, China.
The UCI WorldTour’s two most prominent events – the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia – take place on June 27 to July 19 and May 9 to 31, respectively.
“We hope to excel those tours,” Al Awadi said on Monday. “We want to be parallel to their success.”
Al Awadi added that he believes that the UAE has “earned” its spot on the global cycling map after uniting the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Tours.
“The same [international] riders are participating in the UAE tour,” he said. “We’re in an outstanding position globally.”
Although officials did not give figures on the potential economic impact the UAE Tour is expected to have, Fabrizio D’Amico, the UAE branch manager of RCS Sports and Events – which is partnering with the sports councils to organise the event – said that the benefits would be “significant”.
“The [economic impact] of the UAE Tour actually started back in 2014 when we started the first edition of Dubai Tour, and then in the following years with Abu Dhabi Tour,” he told Arabian Business. “We have seen many benefits behind that, especially in terms of investments from the government side to increase the number of cycle tracks all over the UAE.”
D’Amico revealed the previous UAE Tour also “brought the development of retail shops and facilities that people and amateurs are using every day.”
“We’ve seen that showcasing the UAE Tour brings in interest for tourism,” he said. “It also drove people to the UAE.”
While the full route details of the upcoming UAE Tour are yet to be revealed, the course is expected to cover over 1,000 km across all seven emirates, with an elevation gain of over 4,500 m.