UAE, Dubai, Sunday February 16th, 2020 – The world-class teams have arrived, the magnificent four-day course prepared, and anticipation is mounting as the stage is set for the first ever Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour to get under way tomorrow. (17 February).
The 17 international teams from 14 different countries were welcomed to the city and officially presented on stage during a memorable, breath-taking launch at Nshama Town Square Dubai in front of Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri. Numerous esteemed dignitaries and distinguished guests, from various government and private enterprises, also enjoyed celebrating the Middle East’s first UCI-sanctioned Women’s cycling Calendar event.
Noura Al Jasmi, UAE Cycling Federation Board Member and Tour Director said: “The UAE Cycling Federation is honored to organize the first edition of Dubai Women’s Tour - the only UCI Women’s Calendar Event in Dubai - as well as in the Middle East. Only under the gracious patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Hind Bint Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, wife of His Highness Sheikh / Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE the Ruler of Dubai (PBUH), and through the support of the Dubai Sports Council and the UCI would this event be possible, we express our sincere appreciation and gratitude.” “Tonight’s incredible celebration sets the stage for what is going to be an amazing four-days of high-energy, competitive professional cycling. We are delighted to present the 17 international teams to such a distinguished audience and in a way befitting the level of these teams. We are confident each stage will deliver the excitement of a grand tour. We wish all riders a safe, rewarding Tour.”
Fred Durie, CEO of Nshama and host venue for the Launch celebration said, “Town Square Dubai was delighted to be the host venue for the inaugural Dubai Women’s Tour Official Launch and Teams’ Presentation this evening. We were honored to receive Ministry and Sports dignitaries to recognize and celebrate the start of the Four-Stage Tour, as well as formally welcome the participating 16 international women’s cycling teams to Dubai through a display of engaging entertainment and brilliant fireworks.” “We at Nshama are delighted to be the title sponsor of the 99-kilometer-Stage-One which will be raced through the streets of Dubai on Monday 17th and will see these incredible athletes finish, in what we expect will be a thrilling sprint, in our community. We look forward to congratulating the winner of Nshama Stage-One as well as presenting the Leader of the Dubai Women’s Tour with their Nshama General Classification Leader Jersey."
This will be the first ever UCI-sanctioned women’s cycling event in the Middle East and takes place 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.
One of the star riders taking on the 17-20 February Tour will be up-and-coming Italian sprinter Sofia Collinelli. She’s the daughter of Olympic gold medallist Andrea Collinelli, who topped the podium on the track in the individual pursuit in Atlanta in 1996. Collinelli junior, who is eager to follow in her father’s footsteps, is part of Team Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano and is looking to make her mark in the sprint stages. Also in Dubai to cheer her on will be her Olympic and world champion dad.
“I am really happy to make my debut in the women’s elite category in the United Arab Emirates,” said the 18-year-old. “I have been training hard over the past few weeks to get to Dubai in good health and great condition. I will try to get some good placements during the flat stages, where I hope we will arrive in a bunch sprint.
“I am also looking forward to visiting Dubai's most famous landmarks, especially the amazing Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah,” added the 2019 junior world champion in track cycling.
Matteo Ferrari, the team’s sports director, added: “Our girls carried out a training camp in Tuscany to prepare for the race and we want to fight to win at least one stage of the Dubai Women’s Tour.”
Also part of the team will be Anastasia Carbonari who’ll be chasing general classification honours, Carmela Cipriani, Giulia Marchesini, Emilia Matteoli, and Elena Lucchinelli.
Meanwhile, Team Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes are also looking forward to the challenge.
2019 French Team Pursuit champion Maéva Paret-Peintre said: “My winter preparation went well. I was sick in January but now everything is fine so I am looking forward to the start of the race. It is very new for me to participate in a race like this. I hope I’ll be able to achieve great results because we have a strong team. I'm in a good shape so we will see what I can do.”
Teammate Emeline Eustache, also a member of the French national team, added: “My winter preparation has been good and I feel good. The Dubai Women’s Tour will allow me to fine tune my physical condition. It’s a great way to start the season, and for sure this race will bring us a lot of experience. I hope we get good results with the team. I can’t wait to race.”
Audrey Weingarten is relishing the warmer weather. She said: “The beginning of the season can be complicated in France with regards to our training because of the bad weather and the cold, but I tried to prepare myself as well as possible by racking up the miles and trying to get back the rhythm after my cyclo-cross season. My first expectation of this race is the experience. A race like this one with such a high level and in a country like this is an once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Another of the top international teams will be Luxembourg outfit Andy Schelck Cycles – Immo Losch. Head Sports Director Tjarco Cuppens explained: “The riders, Alana Forster and Désirée Ehrler, prepared for their season in Australia and New Zealand and have competed in several races already.
“The other riders did their preparation during training camps in Spain. It’s always unknown where every rider is standing, but I expect our riders to be ready and able to gain good results. We have various riders for sprints and hills and aggressive riders as well, so the course of the Dubai Women’s Tour is very interesting for our team.”
On his charges, UAE Women’s Coach Ibrahim Al Falamazri said: “We thank the UAE Cycling Federation for this opportunity to race at an elite level. This is a chance our team is exceptionally energised about and they are extremely proud to act as hosts, and ambassadors of our country. They have been training very hard and our preparations have been very sound.” “We will be aspiring to be in the breakaways as well as contest – to the best of our abilities – top 3 finish in at least one stage. But, first and foremost, we want the girls to enjoy and learn from this incredible experience.”
Action gets under way tomorrow (17 February) with the opening Nshama stage. The 99km route will take riders from the start at Dubai Festival City, through some intriguing desert landscapes to finish at Nshama’s Town Square Dubai, the mega project on Al Qudra Road.
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The 17 teams competing at the inaugural Dubai Women’s Tour 2020 are: Agolico BMC; Andy Schleck Cycles-Immo Losch; Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano; Colnago CM; 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; Olympic Training Centre U23 team, Pannonia Regional Team (Fehérvár); Team Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes; Team Ciclotel; Wheel Divas Cycling Team and hosts UAE Women’s Team.