Our final tour of our season gets underway on Thursday as we take to the start of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour. The UCI 2.1 event that takes place in and around the capital of the United Arab Emirates will cover a total distance of 555km over 4 days of racing with 3 stages for sprinters and 1 for the climbers.
Stages 1, 2 and 4 will suit the fast guys as there will be very little climbing before riders enter a local circuit on each stage to complete a few laps before a probable sprint finish. The one factor that sprint teams will have to consider is the infamous desert crosswinds. The 4th stage takes place on the Yas Marina motor racing circuit, well known for hosting the Formula 1 Grand Prix each year. Stage 3 is the day for the climbers as riders will finish at the the summit of the Jebel Hafeet, a 11km climb that has an 7% average gradient.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will have 4 guys prepared to duel it out with the other sprinters in the form of Theo Bos, Matthew Goss, Andy Stauff and Youcef Reguigui. Completing our team will be Daniel Teklehaimanot and Songezo Jim as they look for their opportunities throughout the race and particularly on the 3rd stage.
Songezo Jim – Rider
Abu Dhabi is a new race so we don’t know what to expect really. There are a lot of World Tour teams here though so a lot could happen. For us the goal will be to concentrate on the sprints with Theo. Stage 3 is where the GC will be decided I think. I have been having issues with my knee lately but I’m hoping to do a good race. Either Daniel or I could be up there, we will just see who feels better on the day and the one will help the either.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
The Abu Dhabi Tour takes place for the first time and there will be many strong riders here who want to finish the season on a high note. The race is only 4 stages long and stage 3 seems to be the stage for the GC riders. If the wind does not blow then this could be a sprinters dream race. We have 4 sprinters and 2 African climbers at the start and we will give everything we have left after a long, successful and tough year.