But history will be made as riders from 16 international women's teams hailing from 13 different countries line up at the start of the inaugural Dubai Women's Cycle Tour in just two weeks.
Among them will be the team sure to get the most support during the four-day event, the UAE Women’s team. They have a tough task ahead, taking on some of the best riders in the world, with the likes of top European outfits Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport, Andy Schleck Cycles-Immo Losch and UCI Women’s Continental team Ciclotel also confirmed among the field.
UCI Women’s Continental team Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport is home to the current Belgian national champion while Canada’s Macogep Tornatech Girondins boasts an under-23 national road race and time trial champion in their line-up. Mexican outfit Agolico BMC, meanwhile, is home to last year’s Pan American Road Cycling Championship winner. And Italy’s Aromitalia–Basso Bikes–Vaiano even features a 2019 stage winner of the prestigious Giro Rosa – the women’s equivalent of the Giro d’Italia.
In addition there are several teams whose formation alone has provided a breakthrough in the promotion of women’s cycling across regions such as Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Noura Al Jasmi, Dubai Women’s Tour Director and UAE Cycling Board Member said: “The calibre of athlete, and the teams that have registered to compete are of the highest level in the sport and we expect some fierce, quality racing over the four-day event.” “Our Federation, under the leadership of president Osama Al Shafar, is extremely committed to making this become one of the must-participate and must-watch races on the UCI and Dubai-sporting calendars, and we anticipate this tour will inspire the next generation of young Emirati girls to follow in the footsteps of our current women’s national team and the possibility of representing their country on the world stage.”
Expressing her excitement over the Inaugural Tour being raced on home-soil, UAE cyclist, Safia Al Sayegh said: “It’s very exciting to me for an event like this to be coming and be hosted in the UAE, especially in my home city Dubai, for the very first time.” “All my teammates are looking forward with passion for the tour, and we can't wait for it to kick-off. We hope we can race hard and safely to inspire more girls, especially Emiratis to join this sport.”
Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Hind Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, managed by The UAE Cycling Federation and supported by the Dubai Sports Council, the Dubai Women's Tour will be contested over four stages from 17-20 February 2020. The opening Nshama stage will take riders on a 99km route from the start at Dubai Festival City, through some intriguing desert landscapes to finish at Town Square Dubai, the mega project on Al Qudra Road. The Dubai Duty Free second stage will once again start at Dubai Festival City and pass the famous Nad Al Sheba racecourse in its 106km course to the Springs Souk.
The General Authority for Sports third stage will be one for the climbers as riders head into the picturesque Hatta Mountains. The teams will start from Wadi Hatta Park and finish 90km later at the spectacular Hatta Dam.
The fourth and final Dubai Health Authority stage will once again take the teams back to the city, with the start and finish at Dubai Festival City. Riders will take a looping course around the Dubai Creek and through the traditional downtown area of the city before the first ever Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour champion will be crowned 112km later at the finish.
The jerseys that will be worn by the leading riders during the Tour have been revealed with the overall Nshama General Classification leader donning a striking red. The General Authority for Sports Sprint leader will be in green, the Dubai Health Authority leading climber in pink and the Dubai Duty Free best Young - Under 23 - rider clad in white.
Fred Durie, CEO Nshama said: “We’re excited and proud to embark on this partnership for the inaugural Dubai Women’s Tour, which will have its first stage, dubbed ‘Nshama’, end at Town Square Dubai – our flagship community. Town Square Dubai has been designed with emphasis on promoting active lifestyles for residents with key amenities including a cycling track that’s actively used by women and children alike.” “This partnership solidifies our commitment to building communities that encourage outdoor cycling and active sports. We look forward to welcoming the participants and visitors who will turn up to support the various teams.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Dubai Duty Free said: “We are proud to be associated with the UAE Cycling Federation, and the Dubai Sports Council, on staging the inaugural Dubai Women’s Tour taking place this month. I am sure that this event will be successful and will become a part of Dubai’s sporting calendar. We are equally excited to promote this event alongside our own tournament, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – Women’s week, running concurrently with the Tour, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.”
Al Jasmi has also confirmed that the Tour will be broadcast through the support of Dubai Sports TV and Dubai Studio City.
Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City, said: “Dubai Studio City is proud to sponsor the Dubai Women’s Tour. Our backing of the event represents a natural synergy, as it aligns with our keenness to support local initiatives and our efforts to empower women across the board. Furthermore, the route for the 17 and 18 February races will pass through our community, and we look forward to welcoming the inspiring sportswomen from across the globe.”
“We extend our sincere gratitude to Her Highness Sheikha Hind Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, the Dubai Sports Council and to our esteemed sponsors and partners for their commitment and support of the inaugural race.” added Al Jasmi
The 16 teams competing at the inaugural Dubai Women’s Tour 2020 are:
- Agolico BMC
- Andy Schleck Cycles-Immo Losch
- Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano
- Cogeas Mettler Look
- Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport
- Hitec Products – Birk Sport
- Kazakhstan National Team
- Kuwait Cycling Team
- Macogep Tornatech Girondins de Bordeaux
- Minsk Cycling Club
- Pannonia Regional Team (Fehérvár)
- Team Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
- Team Ciclotel
- UAE Women’s Team
- Under 23 Kazakhstan Team
- Wheel Divas Cycling Team