Two summit finishes and a 13km individual time-trial are likely to decide the outcome of next month’s UAE Tour.
Race organisers revealed the seven-stage, 1 045km route for the first race on the 2021 UCI WorldTour calendar today.
This year’s UAE Tour, which will be the third edition of the race, will take place from February 21 to 27.
Four of the race’s seven stages should result in sprint finishers, giving the fast men of the peloton plenty of incentive to make the trip to the Middle East.
Meanwhile, among the contenders for overall red jersey honours are Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) and defending champion Adam Yates (Team Ineos), while Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will be another rider to keep an eye on.
Stage 1 will be a flat 117km run around the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, giving the sprinters an ideal early opportunity to take the leader’s red jersey.
The GC contenders will be at the fore in Stage 2’s ITT on Al Hudyriat Island where Italy’s world time-trial champion Filippo Ganna (Team Ineos) will start as the heavy favourite for stage honours.
Stage 3 will see the first of two summit finishes with the 162km route making its way up Jebel Hafeet. The 10km climb averages 6.8 percent on well-surfaced roads.
In last year’s race the climb was used on two occasions and saw Pogacar and Yates emerge victorious.
Stage 4 at 204km is the longest of the race from Abu Dhabi to Al Marian Island where another bunch sprint is expected to decide the day’s winner.
After a day to recuperate, the GC contenders will be back in action in Stage 5 over 170km which will conclude after the summit of Jebel Jais.
The climb is a long one of over 20km, but with a consistent gradient of less than six percent.
The overall title is likely to be decided at the top of Jebel Jais as the final two states are both flat and are unlikely to result in changes to the GC standings.
Stage 6 over 168km will take place in Dubai, starting on the coast before returning to the city for a sprint finish at the iconic Palm Jumeirah.
The race returns to Abu Dhabi for the final stage, a 147km course starting on Yas Island and finishing along the city’s breakwater where the overall winner will be crowned.