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مرحباً (MARHABAN!) FROM STAGE 3, THE AL AIN STAGE, OF THE INAUGURAL ABU DHABI TOUR

Al Ain (Al Qattara Souq), 10 October 2015 – مرحباً (Marhaban!) from Stage 3, the Al Ain Stage, of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour (8-11 October 2015), organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sports and Events. Starting from the Al Qattara Souq in Al Ain, the route leads, via two intermediate sprints, to the decisive climb of the race, Jebel Hafeet, where the finish lies at an altitude of 1,025 metres.

During the stage, 36 Green Jersey Points (of a race total of 152), 16 Black Jersey Points (of a race total of 72) and 16 seconds in time bonuses are up for grabs.

The ceremonial roll out started on schedule at 12:55. After crossing the 500m neutralised zone, the peloton, now exactly 100 strong, passed km 0 at 13:00.
 

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STAGE AND TIMINGS
Stage 3 – The Al Ain Stage: Al Ain (Al Qattara Souq) - Jebel Hafeet, 142km
Intermediate Sprints: km 79.1 - Hamdan Bin Mohammad St. and km 128.8 - Green Mubazzarah
Finish: Jebel Hafeet - approx. 5.00pm
Race Headquarters: Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel, UAE


JERSEYS
  • RED JERSEY, sponsored by ADNOC (General Classification by time) – Elia Viviani (Team Sky)
  • GREEN JERSEY, sponsored by ABU DHABI SPORTS COUNCIL (General Classification by points) – Elia Viviani (Team Sky). Jersey worn today by Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team), second in the points classification
  • WHITE JERSEY, sponsored by THE NATIONAL (Best Young Rider, born after 1 January 1990) – Peter Sagan (Tinkoff - Saxo)
  • BLACK JERSEY, sponsored by ETIHAD AIRWAYS (Intermediate Sprint Jersey Classification) – Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)

ROUTE
The toughest stage of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour. Starting from Al Qattara Souq and following wide, straight roads for the first 33km, the peloton then traces a wide circle around the city before crossing the Green Mubazzarah oasis to the start of the final climb. 10.8 km long, the Jebel Hafeet reaches 1,025m on gradients that average 7.5% and touch 12% on the lower slopes. The climb, on a broad and well-surfaced road with long, open bends, eases into a short descent with 1.5km to go, before the shallow climb to the finish line. The final climb will, in all probability, decide the General Classification.

POINTS OF INTEREST
km 0 - Al Qattara Souq
Al Qattara Souq is an open-air marketplace that dates back to mid-1900s and was founded by Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on a road lined with palms that connects the Al Qattara and Al Jimi ad Al Ain oases.
The crafts market is held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from October to May, and encourages local families to preserve and promote Abu Dhabi culture through traditional local crafts. The souk is connected to the Al Qattara fort that houses a major art gallery.

km 15 - Al Jahili Fort
The charming Al Jahili Fort, in Al Ain, is one of the oldest UAE buildings in Abu Dhabi. It was built in 1891 to defend the city and protect its palm groves. In the past it lodged theTrucial Oman Scouts, who protected the mountain passes and kept peace among the tribes. Carefully restored, the building now houses a permanent exhibition about the British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger (whom the locals fondly call "Mubarak Bin London") and his journey across the Rub Al Khali desert (The Empty Quarter) in 1940.

km 20 - Al Ain Zoo
This 900-hectare park near Jebel Hafeet is home to a great variety of animals kept in large enclosures where their natural habitats are reproduced. There are numerous green public areas for picnic and children’s play areas, a canteen and a train tour across the natural reserve. 

km 22 - Al Ain Oasis
Once an important and lush oasis on the caravan route from the Emirates to Oman, Al Ain (in English “the spring”) is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited settlements in Abu Dhabi and lies at the heart of the Emirate’s historical heritage. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Al Ain oasis feeds the falaj, a 3,000-year-old irrigation system that sustains the palm plantations. It covers 1,200 hectares (approx. 3,000 acres) and has over 147,000 date palms of 100 different varieties. Entrance is free.

km 80 - Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium
With a capacity of 25,000 seats, it is home to Al Ain FC, who play in the UAE Pro-League. The stadium houses a major residential and office complex with 50 restaurants, a 172-room hotel, a shopping mall and a sports centre. It is 15 minutes from Al Ain airport, near the Oman border.

km 130 - Green Mubazzarah
Inaugurated in 2004, Green Mubazzarah is a park centred on the hot springs in the foothills of Jebel Hafeet. It has grassy meadows, rivers, artificial lakes, hot springs and chalets. It was inspired by a Swiss village near Geneva that made a lasting impression on the late Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the United Arab Emirates, during a vacation. 

km 142 - Jebel Hafeet
1,240m high, the Jebel Hafeet is the highest peak in the Emirate and the second highest in the UAE. Its rocky summit, rising as if to defend Al Ain and straddling the border with Oman, was shaped in calcareous stone over millions of years. Over 500 ancient graves dating back 5,000 years have been discovered at the foothills of Jebel Hafeet.

#RideToAbuDhabi
The Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport (8-11 October), consists of four stages covering a total of 555km; three stages suit the sprinters, while the remaining stage finishes uphill after a 10.8km climb with gradients touching 12%. The General Classification is expected to be decided on the climb.
#UCICyclingGala
On the evening of the last day, the Tour will have the honour of hosting the very first UCI Cycling Gala awards ceremony. This unique event will celebrate the end of the UCI professional road cycling season with its stakeholders in Abu Dhabi.

SHIFT Active Media
Manolo Bertocchi

 
RCS Sport Cycling Press Office
Ph.: (+44) 1225 448333
Ph. (+44) 7979 241227
E-mail: manolo@shiftactivemedia.com
Tw.: @Shiftactive @ItalianManolo

RCS Sport
Stefano Diciatteo

 
RCS Sport Press Office Coordinator
Ph.: (+39) 02 25848758
Mob.: (+39) 335 5468466
E-mail: Stefano.diciatteo@rcs.it
Tw.: @rcssport - @stedicia

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