Abu Dhabi World Tour 2017 (not only bikes, sprinters and climbers)
Even if you don’t like cycling you will definitely enjoy the Abu Dhabi World Tour. It is not only bikes, sprinters, and climbers. Read my story below.
Abu Dhabi World Tour
Only a few months after the last cycling race, the Abu Dhabi Tour starts off again tomorrow. This time as an official UCI World Tour, the one and only in the Middle East. Not only the distance has increased from 555km to 672km in total, it also has attracted more world’s top cyclists. Indeed, almost every top contender for the Giro d’Italia will be joining the Abu Dhabi World Tour.
The Abu Dhabi World Tour is divided over four different stages. Three of them are a race for sprinters, while the third stage includes the highest peak of the Emirate, Jebel Hafeet (1025 meters).
Riders will curl through the rolling dunes, head towards the green oasis of Al Ain, and sprint over the Corniche along the skyline of the capital Abu Dhabi. The final stage will be at the F1-circuit of Yas Marina which is a showpiece of itself.
Where to watch?
This race will let you enjoy the atmosphere and the impressive environment of the United Arab Emirates in one shot. You can have a picnic on the towering rocky height Jebel Hafeet, and see the cyclists climbing up towards you. You can sit back on the golden sand dunes along the arrow-straight highway and watch the riders come by twice. Or you can join the cheering audience supporting the sprinters preparing for a thrilling bunch sprint.
If you’re not in Abu Dhabi you can still enjoy the tour. You only have to get comfy in your chair and switch on your television. The Abu Dhabi World Tour will be broadcasted in over 175 countries.
Even if you don’t like cycling!
Yes, that’s right. Even if you don’t like cycling you will definitely enjoy this event. Because it isn’t only about cyclists and cycling. There are many more things that add up to an unforgettable memory … Read my story about the Abu Dhabi Tour of last year.
It is not only bikes, sprinters, and climbers!
An impression of the Abu Dhabi Tour 2016
When we drive towards the capital Abu Dhabi we notice big signs with the letters ‘RACE’ on roundabouts and crossings. The boys get excited. They are expecting a spectacular car rally with exhausts pipes popping and tires screeching over the tarmac. But I have to disappoint them. This race is not a car race. It is the annual Abu Dhabi Tour for cyclists.
Helicopters and sirens
As we enter the city, helicopters hover over us and the screaming sound of police sirens fills the air. A man in a white kandoora, the traditional dress, gestures us to stop the car. He is wearing a yellow vest with the text ‘organizer’ on his back. We aren’t allowed to drive further. However, the organizer invites us to stand on the roundabout for a good view of the peloton. “How long will it take for the peloton to arrive?”, we ask the man who is playing a game on his phone. “No idea,” he replies smiling, “I’ll get a call.”
The thrill of enthusiasm
Slowly we hear the sounds of sirens become louder. A helicopter hovers over at such a low altitude that we can almost feel the wind of its blades. In the distance, the glare of headlights is coming towards us. We and other spectators patiently watch the organizer taking orange cones off the street at a leisurely pace.
Until he suddenly starts swaying a match flag shouting: “There they come!”. His scream lets the audience jump up and I can feel the thrill of enthusiasm running through my spine.
Dukes of Hazard
Out of nowhere a police car model Dodge Challenger with humming engine slides around the roundabout.”Look at that!”, one of the spectators cheers, “The Dukes of Hazard are back!”. There is laughter, quickly overtaken by excitement when the leading group of 6 riders buzzes by. Several seconds later the rest of the peloton follows like a colourful rainbow traveling through the sky. The vibrations of the tires on the tarmac sound like sensational white noise.
We cheer on the cyclists with so much devotion that they give us thumbs up. One of the riders throws his water bottle as a gift. We all run and cheer after them, through the desert sand in the centre of the roundabout, while they are making a U-turn.
All of us, except my two little boys. They are waving at the cars that are driving behind the peloton. They stare at the big variety of Mercedes cars with bikes on top and follow the luxury police cars and other bolides with amazement: a shiny bright yellow Lamborghini Aventador (Super cool!), an upgraded Porsche (Awesome!), a spectacular Bugatti Veyron (Too cool to drive!), and a McLaren in breathtaking colours of lacquer (No Way!).
When the last rider is out of sight we quietly walk towards our car. To then suddenly shout in unity: “Yes! We’ll be back!”