Madinat Zayed - Abu Dhabi - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Manuele  Boaro (Tinkoff - Saxo) pictured during Abu Dhabi Tour 2015 - stage - 1 from Qasr al Sarab to  Madinat Zayed 174 km - 08/10/2015 - photo RB/Cor Vos © 2015
  • For those that haven’t seen them, Orica-GreenEdge’s Backstage Pass videos from the race give you a sense of the effect the weather had on the riders. Here’s the video from stage 1:

  • Jessy Vee

    Do you know if the temperature at the summit of Stage 3 was considerably less than when they were riding through the desert in stage 1. I understand that the overall temperature dropped from stage 1 to stage 2, but not sure by how much. I was wondering if a summit finish in the desert would have a similar drop in temperature as a summit finish in the alps/pyrenees during summer?

    • According to Brendan Canty’s Strava file from the stage ( ) the temperature dropped from 47 degrees at the start to 31 at the top of Jebel Hafeet. Take the exact numbers with a grain of salt (his Garmin said it was 57 degrees at the startline!) but it’s clear there was a definite drop-off, yep!

      • Jessy Vee

        Thanks for the detective work, Matt! I do believe the garmin temperatures are correct. When we get temperature readings from the news or home weather kits, we read and record the temperature in the shade. So a temperature of 57c outside in the glaring sun is not unreasonable (from a recording point of view – totally unreasonable from a racing point of view!). My ride yesterday (reported at home as 23c) peaked at 35c as the garmin sat in the sun for most of it. Really awesome to see that the temperature drops on a mountain in the middle of a desert!

        • Dave

          It depends on the ground surface too, Jessy.

          The air is not heated directly by the sun, but by the surface of the earth being heated by the sun’s UV-dominated energy and then radiating it out as infra-red light which the air absorbs as heat. This is the main reason it gets cooler as you go uphill, because the air is heated from the bottom up.

          Bitumen roads and sand will radiate this heat into the air very effectively – but sand also cools off very quickly, even just when a cloud blocks the sun for a little while. Grass and water do not radiate so well, they heat and cool very slowly but they also stay warm once they are warm – which causes humidity.

          The same air temperature will correspondingly feel much hotter in an environment dominated by a sandy landscape (e.g. cycling at the Tour of Qatar) than one dominated by grass and trees (e.g. cycling at the Tour Down Under, where many of the roads are shaded by trees).

          If you add humidity (e.g. at the Tour of Langkawi) into the mix, that’s when it gets really uncomfortable and even the best ground surface won’t make a difference. Neither sweating or pouring a bottle of water over your shirt will work, because the moisture simply cannot evaporate when the the air is already saturated with moisture.

      • Brendan Canty

        temperature dropped and my heart rate didn’t… peaking at 204 and average 197bpm for the Jebel Hafeet climb :D

  • Nitro

    Its been a long time since I studied physics at school, but I have to question BMC’s use of Black water bottles – isn’t it a known fact that black htings absorb heat faster than lightly coloured things?

    Personally I’m a big fan of the Camelbak Podium Chill bottles – nothing works on a 40 degree day for very long, but when its warm they certainly protect me from the fate worse then death – warm sports drink / coke etc…

    • Sean Doyle

      For hot days I put chilled water and a few ice cubes in my first bottle and fill my second bottle completely with ice cubes then complete it with the chilled water. That way when I usually reach for my second bottle it’s all melted but still cool to drink. I use the Podium chill bottles for this and a couple scoops of my home made energy mix.

    • Brendan Canty

      We (Drapac) were going through enough biddons and getting fresh ones regularly so for the majority of the time the fluids remained cool. They usually come straight from an eski and are ice-cold coming out of the car. Yes they did start to heat up, but that was probably a sign I wasn’t drinking enough and a fresh one wasn’t too far away…

      • Nitro

        Kudos off the scale for you guys being able to ride at all when its that hot… Shows how the life of a pro really is a lot harder than us arm-chair-experts often think

        When the pro tour allows you to draft (get towed) behind an open-doored deep-freeze food and drink truck, give me a call…

      • Sean

        Nice ride mate! lots of people are very impressed with your speedy progress.

    • deAuxerre

      Yes, black does absorb more energy, but a bottle is small, curved, and sometimes shaded, so it’s colour has almost zero effect.
      The biggest effect of heat absorption is on a hot day, with a high, midday sun, and the colour of the back of the jersey. Dark colours are the worst.

  • BRK

    … 2016 Road World Championships will be held in Doha, Qatar…?????!!!! (sigh)

  • Arfy

    It doesn’t seem that anyone’s been experimenting with long-sleeve kit in extreme heat. Coming from a farming background, it was always cooler to wear a long-sleeve shirt and trousers, with a broad-brim hat, than it was to have exposed skin to the sun when it got hot. I would’ve thought a long-sleeve kit with material designed to reflect the heat of the sun on the back and along the top of the arms would be a lot cooler than wearing the loose-weave short-sleeve material currently in fashion.

    • Sean Doyle

      White are ‘warmers’. Most companies are now making them specifically for this purpose. Keeps the sun off and the layer of lycra/material helps with evaporation keeping you cooler.

    • deAuxerre

      It’s a balance between blocking sunlight, versus having the pores unhindered to breathe and exhaust moisture.
      Given that a kit must be skin-tight (and not loose and flowing like Arabic dress), it’s not an obvious choice.
      Depends on the situation; angle of sun, humidity, etc.

  • Andy B

    Hottest I’ve ridden is 46 and I had a double flat that day, the heat seem to soften tyres and make them susceptible.. racing above that temperature is crazy

  • echidna_sg

    Slightly different subject, but Velon also did live video feeds in abu dhabi… using a bidon stuffed with batteries and transmission gear and a gopro..

  • mt

    They say Formula One drivers need to be fit to endure the extreme (high) temperatures they race in…meet the the next level of extreme fitness! I am wondering how hot their shifters/ handlebars were in these temperatures as well as pedal heat transfer on top of that air temp..something we also forget to appreciate perhaps ? Great video by OGE backstage pass too- thanks CT…It’s fabulous having the #pro’s responding to comments and sharing their experiences #chapeau

  • ed

    it takes a week or two to acclimatise to the heat over here. i would expect teams will preapre for next year worlds by coming in a few weeks before. jebel hafeet is a solid climb. kudos to brendan canty for his solid performance on stage 3. i use insulated bottles for the summer over here – the difference is remarkable – even in june/july/august when its 40 by 7:30 am your water is still cool. the next step is to ride with an ice vest.

    • Dave

      “the next step is to ride with an ice vest.”

      So long as it’s just hot+dry and not hot+humid, a bucket of water out the team car window would get the job done easily and simply thanks to evaporation.

      I wouldn’t expect many teams to come across in great numbers any more than a week in advance at the expense of missing revenue-earning races elsewhere, you would be more likely to see them doing a training camp in hot conditions earlier in the year.

      • ed

        until you live/ride here you have no idea how hot it is – you cant just acclimatise in a few days. your body has to adjust over time. i took a 3 week holiday in july to milder climates and when i came back it was a real struggle.
        it can be both – hot & dry and hot & humid – moisture gets sucked in from the gulf and then cools at night to form a really thick fog in the morning but the humidity hangs around for days. i can handle the humidity but not the scorching heat
        you’re right a few weeks is a bit excessive as prep time but it wont be an easy 260km – potentially it could be a very dull race with it just coming down to who is best hydrated – i would run it to finish in the early evening to avoid the worst of the day time heat. was it at the beijing games they had mist showers set up at the end of each lap?

        • Dave

          I live outside Adelaide where it regularly gets into the mid-high 40’s (in the shade) and in summer it doesn’t cool down overnight like it does in a desert.

          I tried out an ice vest for cycling a couple of times a few summers ago when the local cricket club had some, it was great for the first 20 minutes and worse than useless for the rest of the ride once the flow of warm air warmed it up. Best to use the airflow as an advantage for cooling rather than a hindrance.

          The riders will have no choice but to acclimatise as well as they can in less than a week before the Qatar road world championships, they have too much other work to be doing.

          • ed

            the heat of adelaide doesnt compare to dubai. let me explain. 45 degrees by 8am in summer is the norm – everyday for months on end. overnight minimums of 30. believe or not you start to get used to it. ive only been here one year and have struggled at times. there are plenty of tough mofos here who can ride in the heat and still perform

  • Dave

    I’m sure that thinking of all those petro-dollars flowing into their bank accounts went some way to helping the riders cope with it.

  • ridein

    What happened to common sense? It would have been proactive to race earlier in the morning before the temps were unbearable. From what I saw and what was reported there was very few or no spectators for the whole of each day. I’ve ridden in 40C/100F+ temps and it is more just survival than a fun time.

  • deAuxerre

    Take a look at the regional temps. The ‘daily mean’ and ‘average high’ of early October are much closer to Dhabi’s peak heat (July) than their seasonal lows (in January). They would race in cooler temps if it was held ….. in April.

  • Derek Maher

    Seems a daft place to hold the world road race championships. The UCI must be getting a huge kickback from the Abu Dhabi authorities .Looking at the lack of interest shown by the local population in the bike racing scene cannot see why its being run at all ?.

    • Dave

      The Road World Championships are not being run in Abu Dhabi.

      The 2016 Road World Championships in Doha, however, are being run there because their bid for the event was better than the other bid for the event which was from Bergen in Norway. Bergen fine-tuned their bid and won the 2017 event ahead of Innsbruck, Melbourne and Bogota.

      Event bids are not decided on the number of local fans. Richmond this year and the 2013 TdF Grand Depart in Yorkshire were classic examples of authorities going with ‘expansion’ events in locations without a strong sport cycling culture.

  • leroy

    Does a light coloured helmet make any difference? I’ve got a grey on at the moment but was wondering.. what model is Sagan wearing?

    • lero

      Got it, s-works prevail..

    • Sean Doyle

      No it doesn’t.

  • David Everett

    Since writing this article I got to talk with Matt White the DS of Orica and he said the guys went through about 300 bottles, Chaves himself used 35 on the Jebel Hafeet climb. They were returning to the car every 13-14 minutes to collect and return 6 b0ttles at a time. Not all of this will have been drunk, some will have been poured over their heads and bodies.


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