Stage 1 – The Liwa Stage: The entire stage takes place in the stunning northern reaches of the Rub al Khali desert. Starting among the red sand dunes that surround the beautiful Qasr al Sarab Resort, the undulating race route accumulates about 1200m of vertical climbing. The riders will trace a ring around Liwa and the nearby oasis, passing through the town twice. The second part of the stage consists of a largely straight section, almost 55 km long and on the slightest of downhill gradients. It leads to the town of Madinat Zayed. After a first passage of the finish line, the peloton enters the final section of racing - a 15km loop to be ridden just once. A mass sprint is expected, although the desert winds could influence the outcome.