How to get involved with cycling challenges during the UAE Tour

Get your lycra on and saddle up

How to get involved with cycling challenges during the UAE Tour
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In February, many of the world’s leading cyclists will be jetting in to the country to take part in the second annual UAE Tour bike race.

While Abu Dhabi and Dubai have had separate tour events for years, the recent merger and subsequent creation of the UAE Tour is putting the nation’s cycling scene on the world map.

In just the same way top tennis and golf events bring in the biggest names in their respective tours the same happens here with professional peddlers.

The Dubai event has always attracted sprint stars, while a more mountainous Abu Dhabi course has been associated with good climbers. This year, with global television coverage, top cyclists will be in the peloton and you can watch out for all-rounders in a whole lot of Lycra taking over our roads from February 23 to 29. Better still for people who like to get in the saddle and test themselves, are the amateur challenges open to all riders as part of the event. Registration and, if we’re honest, a high level of fitness are required to properly take part, but if you can manage that then there’s nothing stopping you from putting your speed, strength and endurance to the test against Abu Dhabi’s best.

In total there are four UAE Tour Challenges. The first two, a regular road race at Al Qudra in Dubai and a lengthy hill climb endurance test in Liwa, have already taken place. Two challenges, however, are still open for registration and cyclists looking to join in the upsurge in popularity and focus on the sport ahead of the UAE tour are encouraged to register.

First up is a 36km energy-sapping climb of Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah. The distance isn’t the greatest, but the mountainous route will mean teams and individual riders will have to prove their stamina in the gruelling climb. This picturesque ride takes place on Valentine’s Day (February 14), so don’t plan dinner date and dancing later that day as you simply won’t have the energy.

The final UAE Tour Challenge, on February 26, is surely familiar territory for any keen cyclist in the city. The Yas Marina Circuit. The test here is a pure sprint race. Pace cars will drive around the circuit and any riders who don’t keep a certain speed on the first five laps, with each circuit getting quicker, will be eliminated. The final two laps will see the pace cars drop out and racers put the pedal to the medal in a straight race for gold, silver and bronze.

The UAE Tour and the associated challenges are great opportunities for watching and taking part in top level cycling. Saddle up!
The UAE Tour will run from Feb 23 to Feb 29. Amateur challenges number three and four are scheduled for Feb 14 and Feb 26. For more information, visit www.theuaetour.com.

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