UAE Tour routes revealed: Jebel Hafeet headlines men's and women's races

Women's four-day race to be decided atop Jebel Hafeet, whilst seven-day men's race welcomes opportunities for both sprinters and climbers alike

Clock16:30, Wednesday 17th January 2024
Luke Plapp and Adam Yates are expected back at this year's race, as are Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Luke Plapp and Adam Yates are expected back at this year's race, as are Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini

The routes for the women's and men's UAE Tours have been announced, with both races set to remain in their usual February slots and see the WorldTour season ramp up towards its grand European bow.

Quickly establishing itself as the Middle East's most prestigious stage race, the UAE Tour is the region's only race catering to both the men's and women's WorldTour pelotons. As such, the competition for victory is intense and both races have a short, but illustrious history.

The 2024 men's UAE Tour will be its sixth edition and see the riders start and finish in Abu Dhabi, with stages for sprinters, time trialists and climbers in between. The sprinters can expect wide, ferocious bunch finishes, whilst the climbers can look forward to the usual challenges of Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet.

As for the UAE Tour Women, this year's race will be its second edition, after the success of last year's inaugural outing. Remaining a four-day stage race, the women's peloton will also finish in Abu Dhabi, but begin in Dubai. As with the men's race, Jebel Hafeet is likely to determine the winner.

Both races can expect stellar startlists, as has become the norm, with four of last year's six podium finishers, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla), Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini (Lidl-Trek), expected to be in attendance.

The Italian Longo Borghini will be hoping to retain her title, whilst reigning champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) looks set to miss the race. In his place, former champion Yates will be challenged by the likes of Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich PostNL), Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ben O'Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale).

Overlap between routes of both races

The UAE Tour Women will kick things off on 8 February with an opening stage from Dubai Miracle Garden to Dubai Harbour. At 122km in length, the stage will almost certainly be one for the sprinters, with a wide, open finishing straight. The men will contest that very same final straight on their fourth stage.

This is one of a number of overlaps between the routes of both races. Of course, both races will take on UAE's most well-known climb, Jebel Hafeet, and the overall titles of both races will likely be decided here. The 10km-long climb hovers between 8-9% and provides the centrepiece of the women's race on stage 3, before rounding out the men's race on its final day.

Whilst the men's race will end with a mountaintop finish, the best sprinters in the Women's WorldTour will get another chance on the race's final stage, with stage 4 of UAE Tour Women almos replicating that of the men's sixth stage, culminating in an expected bunch sprint by Abu Dhabi Breakwater.

The routes of both will showcase the best that Dubai and Abu Dhabi have to offer – stage 4 of the men's Tour will pass Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah and end in Dubai Harbour – but the Arabian Desert will colour stage 2 of the women's race between the Arabian Gulf Coast and Madinat Zayed.

"This event is not just a race; it's a testament to the UAE's unwavering commitment to fostering the growth of women in the sport," said COO of RCS Sports and Events and UAE Tour Director, Fabrizio D'Amico. "We want to drive more and more attention to this event, which is the only one at WorldTour level in the Middle East for both men and women".

Will UAE Team Emirates' dominance of Jebel Hafeet continue?

A week after the women's race, the men's UAE Tour will get underway and offer four bites at the apple for the sprinters, such as Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) and Fabio Jakobsen (dsm-firmenich PostNL). There is a chance, however, that their moment to shine may wait until the fourth stage.

Read more:

Although the opening day between Al Dhafra Walk Madinat Zayed and Liwa Palace has no major climbs, two laps of the Moreeb Dune cycle path (each lap is 18.1km) will scatter the finale with a series of testing bumps. This is an area of desert with some of the world's steepest sand dunes, not to mention the finishing straight will rise uphill at an average gradient of 3%.

Between that rude awakening and the lightning-fast sprint finish in Dubai Harbour on stage 4, a 12.1km-long ITT will return to Filippo Ganna's (Ineos Grenadiers) old stomping ground on Al Hudayriyat Island in stage 2, before the Jebel Jais summit finish on stage 3.

Stages 5 and 6 will be the playground of the sprinters – should they manage potential crosswinds – before the Jebel Hafeet summit finish on stage 7 brings the race to a close. Home outfit UAE Team Emirates have won on this climb for the past four seasons, with Tadej Pogačar's three consecutive victories followed up by a two-time winner on this summit, Adam Yates, last season.

Read more: Adam Yates: UAE Team Emirates' Tour de France team will be a bit of a challenge

With hairpin bends, a three-lane highway and maximum gradients of 11% thrown in, Jebel Hafeet will provide the perfect curtain call on eleven days of action in the United Arab Emirates across both races.

UAE Tour Women 2024 full route:

  • Stage 1: Dubai Miracle Garden - Dubai Harbour (122km)
  • Stage 2: Al Mirfa Bab Al Nojoum - Madinat Zayed (113km)
  • Stage 3: Al Ain Police Museum - Jebel Hafeet (128km)
  • Stage 4: Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum - Abu Dhabi Breakwater (105km)

Men's UAE Tour 2024 full route:

  • Stage 1: Al Dhafra Walk Madinat Zayed - Liwa Palace (143km)
  • Stage 2: Al Hudayriyat Island ITT (12.1km) (ITT)
  • Stage 3: Al Marjan Island - Jebel Jais (176km)
  • Stage 4: Dubai Police Officer’s Club - Dubai Harbour (173km)
  • Stage 5: Al Aqah - Umm al Quwain (182km)
  • Stage 6: Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum - Abu Dhabi Breakwater (138km)
  • Stage 7: Al Ain Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa - Jebel Hafeet (161km)

For more about the 2024 men's UAE Tour, including the latest news, key information and race history, visit our dedicated race hub.

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