Some of the top names in the sport have been announced as competing in the first-ever Abu Dhabi Tour, which will begin on October 8 and run for four days.
The field includes Mark Cavendish, who has been named as the official ambassador, as well as Vuelta a España winner Fabio Aru, 2014 Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali (both Astana), Vuelta runner-up Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and WorldTour champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Also on board are former world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) and Sky’s Richie Porte. Cavendish will go up against fast finishers such as Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo).
The field will also include double Vuelta stage winners Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), Lampre-Merida’s Diego Ulissi and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka).
“I’m really looking forward to be racing in Abu Dhabi,” said Matthews. “It would be the perfect opportunity to finish the season on a high note.
“The style of racing that I think we’ll see there really suits our team and we are all ready to go there and chase some success. It’s great to see new races like this on the calendar – as riders we’re proud to bring racing to a new audience.”
The event will feature ten WorldTour teams, five Pro Continental squads and the new Team Wiggins.
The race organiser and the Velon group recently announced a revenue-sharing partnership that it hopes will be the start of a new direction in the sport.
The line-up plus some selected names are as follows:
Astana Pro Team (Kaz) – Nibali, Aru
BMC Racing Team (USA) – Gilbert
Bora-Argon 18 (Ger) – Buchmann
Colombia (Col) – Quintero
Drapac Professional Cycling (Aus) – Brown
Etixx – Quick-Step (Bel) – Cavendish
Lampre-Merida (Ita) – Ulissi, Xu Gang
Movistar Team (Esp) – Valverde
MTN-Qhubeka (Rsa) – Teklehaimanot
Orica-GreenEdge (Aus) – Matthews, Chaves
Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team – Al Ahli Club (UAE) – Al Murawwi
Team Giant-Alpecin (Ger) – Kittel, Dumoulin, Ji Cheng
Team Katusha (Rus) – Rodriguez
Team Sky (Gbr) – Porte
Team Wiggins (Gbr) – Patten
Tinkoff-Saxo (Rus) – Sagan
UAE National Team – Yousif Mirza
UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team (USA) – Brajkovic