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Mark Cavendish is the Official Abu Dhabi Tour Ambassador

The best sprinter of his era will be the one of the stars of the professional cycling race taking place from 8th to 11th October 2015

Abu Dhabi, 28 July 2015 - The first race in the UAE capital territory continues to excite: the four stages among the skyscrapers, deserts, oases and the spectacular Formula 1 circuit start to seduce. The first confirmed high-profile contender is a world class rider, former road UCI World Champion and fourth on the all-time list of Grand Tour stage winners: Mark Cavendish – 'Cav'. The Manxman, who has been able to destroy all records from the beginning of his career, is officially the first Abu Dhabi Tour Ambassador.

At the Abu Dhabi Tour launch in March, Cavendish was outspoken in his passion for the Emirates and its welcoming people. In particular he loves the UAE capital, "as a place full of tradition, that also look to the future. Definitively a great country to have a bike race".

This clear endorsement was greatly appreciated by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, represented by the General Secretary, Mr. Aref Hamad Al Awani, who commented about the possibility to have the ‘Manx Missile' as official Ambassador of the upcoming Tour: "The race is well balanced, it could be won by a sprinter with strength or by a one-day-race specialist, adept at gaining seconds on the climb. By the way, three of four stages are dedicated to the fastest men in the world: as Official Ambassador we could only choose the best. And it is Mr Cavendish."

"I'm very excited to return to the Middle East and race in Abu Dhabi," said Cavendish, "I'm sure it will be a great event to close the season. The route will be very nice for the sprinters so I hope to get some success - especially when there's a chance to finish on an F1 finish. That will be very special."

From now until October, Mark Cavendish will unveil the Abu Dhabi tourist and cycling attractions via his social channels and take part in a special Press Conference scheduled in September, in between the Vuelta a Espana and the World Championships in Richmond.

The surprises do not end here. #RideToAbuDhabi

MARK CAVENDISH BIO

Mark Cavendish (21.05.1985) was born in Douglas, Isle of Man (British Isles). He became a professional road cyclist in 2007, after some years as track specialist. With 11 victories In his first professional season passed the record held by Alessandro Petacchi. After that, his palmares has continued to grow: till today ‘Cav' has won 26 individual Tour de France stages, 15 at the Giro d'Italia, and 3 at the Vuelta a España. In 2011, in Copenhagen (Denmark), he became UCI Road World Champion. Not to mention the one-day-race successes such as Milan-Sanremo (2009) and the National Road Race Championship two years ago. He currently rides for the Belgian UCI ProTeam Etixx – Quick-Step.

THE RACE

Abu Dhabi Tour was declared a 2.1 race by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and will take place from 8 to 11 October covering a total distance of 555km. It's organised by the Abu Dhabi Sport Council in partnership with RCS Sport.

ROUTE INFORMATION

Stage 1 – The Liwa Stage (175km): The entire stage takes place in the stunning Rub al Khali desert, part of Abu Dhabi's Western Region. Starting among the red sand dunes that surround the beautiful Qasr Al Sarab Resort, the undulating race route accumulates about 1,200m of vertical climbing. The riders will trace a ring around Liwa and the nearby oasis, passing through the town twice. The riders then head north along straight roads for 55km, with the slightest of downhill gradients, as far as the town of Madinat Zayed. After a first passage of the finish line, the peloton enters a final 15km loop, to be ridden just once. A mass sprint is expected, although the desert winds could influence the outcome.

Stage 2 – The Capital Stage (130km): A flat stage across the city, starting at the Yas Marina Circuit and heading towards the southern part of the city along wide and mostly straight roads. After the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Exhibition Hall, the peloton turns back on itself, returning to Yas Island, then following the Corniche as far as Marina Island. This is the setting for the final 7.6km circuit, to be completed five times: it features long straight stretches with wide sharp bends. Again, a mass sprint is expected.

Stage 3 – The Al Ain Stage (140km): The toughest stage of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour. Starting from Al Qattara Souq, the first 33km follow a series of broad, straight roads, then the peloton will trace a wide circle around the city, crossing the Green Mubazzarah oasis before starting the final climb. 11km long, the Jebel Hafeet ascent reaches an altitude of 1,000m on gradients that average 7.5% and touch 12% on the lower slopes. The climb, on wide, well surfaced roads and with long, sweeping bends, eases into a short descent with 1.5km to go, before resuming a shallow climb to the finish line. The final climb will, in all probability, decide the General Classification.

Stage 4 – The Yas Stage (110km): The entire stage takes place at night, under the floodlights of the Yas Marina Circuit. The peloton will complete 20 laps, interspersed with intermediate sprints. The circuit is wide and the surface is in impeccable condition.

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