Pre-race press conference quotes. Exclusive, Ferrari-designed trophy unveiled. Start flag for Thursday's inaugural stage to be dropped by official Abu Dhabi Tour Ambassador, Mark Cavendish

Abu Dhabi, 6 October 2015 – Eleven of the world’s leading riders spoke to the media this afternoonin the Yas Event Centre, part of Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit complex, the venue of the press conference preceding the inaugural pre-Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sports and Events. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team), Tom Boonen (Etixx - Quick Step), Esteban Chaves (ORICA GreenEDGE), Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant - Alpecin), Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), Marcel Kittel (Team Giant Alpecin), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff - Saxo), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Xu Gang (Lampre - Merida) were joined by Mr Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and Mr Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation.



Mr Aref Hamad Al Awani“I’m absolutely delighted to see some of the best riders in the world here. It is an honour for us to welcome them to the first Abu Dhabi Tour. Their presence here means that we have done it: the Abu Dhabi Tour is a reality, which is our most important goal. The world’s eyes are on us now. Let’s show that we deserve their attention. Allow me to offer my thanks to Ferrari for their great trophy, and to the media for coming. I hope you enjoy these four amazing stages, the magnificent final gala and the scenery and landscapes of the UAE capital territory.”

Lorenzo Giorgetti, CEO RCS Sports and Events, said: "On behalf of RCS Sports and Events, I would like to offer my warmest thanks to the teams and riders for coming to the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour. It is a particular time of the year, and we would like this race to be a celebration of the entire cycling season. As such, we are both honoured and thrilled to see so many of the major protagonists here with us today."

Peter Sagan: "Abu Dhabi is a nice city, and I have ridden in the region before, although, after the very crazy week that I have had, it may be a hard race for me, and I don't like it when it is hot! I am very proud of this rainbow jersey, and of having won this special race. No one can imagine what it is like for a rider to win the World Championships when it has been your dream all your life. It is unlike any other victory in my career. There are lots of World Champions here, but it is strange: we have talked about life, and the usual things, but never about what it is like to wear the rainbow jersey."

Fabio Aru: "I am really happy to be here, and I can see that this is a well organised race. How is my form after the Vuelta? I don't know myself, because I have had a lot of commitments. But it is great to be here because, for the first time since Spain, I feel free to get on with racing, with no distractions. The team is good, and Vincenzo Nibali is in great shape after Il Lombardia. We'll see what I can do and, in any case, I will be delighted to work for Vincenzo.

Tom Boonen: "The wind is always an ally for my team: we have specialised in these conditions for many years. But it is hard to predict. It is our first time racing in Abu Dhabi, so we have to get to know the roads."

Esteban Chaves: "Me and the team are very happy to be here, and we would like to thank the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the race organisers for creating this new race and inviting us to take part. I should have good condition after the Vuelta a España, but of course I am tired. If there is wind, I have a good team to make the most of it. We will work for Michael Matthews in the sprints, and then the mountain stage, in theory, will be for me. We will see how I am on the day."

Tom Dumoulin: "I hope I have recovered form the Vuelta a España and the World Championships. It has been a hard couple of months, but I would like to do well here. It is all about the legs, and about the heat, too, coming from Europe."

Philippe Gilbert: "It is hard to say if I can be competitive on the climb. The temperature difference from Europe is big, so it will be hard to adjust. Still, before we get to the climb, we have two days to spin the legs, wind permitting, and then we will see who can climb fast."


Marcel Kittel: "I have to be honest: 2015 has not been a good year for me, and I probably do not have the form to be competitive here. But I am happy to make the trip to the first Abu Dhabi Tour, and, since I am changing teams, it will be nice to ride this race for my team-mates, and to ride with them for the last time".

Vincenzo Nibali: "It is my first time in Abu Dhabi, and it is fantastic to be here. It is my last race of the season, and I am in good shape after Il Lombardia. I have a very good team-mate, too, in Fabio Aru, so we can work together on the climb. To win this race overall is very important for the team."

Alejandro Valverde: "It is the end of a hard season, and I am tired, as I think everyone is, too. That said, Day Three finishes with a hard climb, which is good for me, although there are other riders here who are in excellent shape, and they will be trying to win too, so it will not be easy. The rest of the race is for sprinters, and we have a fast man in Lobato, so we will be working for him."

Elia Viviani: "I had some good results in the recent Tour of Britain, and then I was strong in the World Championships, even if my result didn't reflect it. My form is good. I have a strong team around me, with Ben Swift and Andy Fenn and, with three opportunities for sprinters, I have plenty of motivation to finish the season well".

Xu Gang: "I am delighted to be in Abu Dhabi. The race is being shown on television in China, and there are two Chinese riders here in me and Ji Cheng, so I think people will tune in, and perhaps it will inspire young riders."

The Official Trophy of the Abu Dhabi tour was unvelied during the conference.
Designed in collaboration with Ferrari Design and sculpted in carbon fibre and steel, the trophy, entitled 'Silent Speed," represents the union of dynamism and technology, rider and bicycle, and recalls the world of Ferrari, where man and machine are united.
Flavio Manzoni – Senior Vice President Ferrari Design – said: ""It has been a pleasure for Ferrari Design to contribute to the creation of this trophy. We wanted to symbolise the dynamism of the athlete who, in perfect symbiosis with his bicycle, bonded to the road, creating a single element: 'Silent Speed.' Ferrari Design has never before created a trophy, and we are proud of the result." #RideToAbuDhabiThe Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport, will take place from 8 to 11 October. It consists of four stages covering a total distance of 555km; three stages favour the sprinters, while the remaining stage (the 3rd), finishing uphill after a 750m climb with gradients touching 12%, will probably decide the General Classification. 
The Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport, will take place from 8 to 11 October. It consists of four stages covering a total distance of 555km; three stages favour the sprinters, while the remaining stage (the 3rd), finishing uphill after a 750m climb with gradients touching 12%, will probably decide the General Classification.

In the evening of the last day the Tour will have the honour of hosting the very first UCI Cycling Gala awards ceremony. It’s a unique event to celebrate the end of the UCI professional road cycling season and its stakeholders in Abu Dhabi.

Stage 1 – The ADNOC Stage (174km): 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 accrues around 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 the first crossing of the finish line, the peloton then 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 (129km): 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 follows the Corniche until the Emirates Palace. There the riders will face a U-turn, cycling again alongside the Corniche until Yas Island, where the finish line is positioned next to the Yas Mall. Again, a mass sprint is expected.

Stage 3 – The Al Ain Stage (142km): 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 on the Yas Marina Circuit. 110km at night under the floodlights of the F1 Circuit. The peloton will complete 20 laps (5.5km each) culminating in the last Abu Dhabi Tour sprint. The circuit is wide and the surface is in impeccable condition.

Links: Abu Dhabi Tour downloads site for all content


SHIFT Active Media
Manolo Bertocchi

RCS Sport Cycling Press Office
Ph.: (+44) 1225 448333
Ph. (+44) 7979 241227
Tw.: @Shiftactive @ItalianManolo

RCS Sport
Stefano Diciatteo

RCS Sport Press Office Coordinator
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Tw.: @rcssport - @stedicia

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