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The Middle East’s only WorldTour stage race confirmed its February 20-26 dates despite the raging new wave of infections that have put some other early season races to the sword.
“Once again, we welcome the world’s elite teams and riders to the launch of global races on the UCI’s agenda, hoping that the UAE Tour will be a gateway to the start of the season,” said H.E. Aref Al Awani, general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. “Thanks to the sincere efforts made by the competent authorities and their supervision of the application of all precautionary and preventive measures for the safety and health of all.”
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The recent wave of omicron infections forced organizers in other early-season races beyond the reach of Europe to cancel or postpone their 2022 editions, including the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina as well as the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Australia.
The race will open the 2022 WorldTour calendar on a familiar course featuring a familiar mix of sprint stages, a time trial, as well as summit finishes at Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet.
Some of the top sprinters will debut there, including Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco). Defending champion Tadej Pogačar will lead the “home team” against the likes of Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe).