The Abu Dhabi Tour is here for the third year in a row. This is the only Middle Eastern race on the UCI World Tour calendar. 16 UCI WorldTeams and four UCI Professional Continental Teams are here to ride the four day long race, and many of the best riders in the world are here; well-known names such as Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Alberto Contador and Caleb Ewan to name a few.
The opening stage took part on Thursday, started and ended in Madinat Zayed and ran entirely through the desert, 188 km long.
We all went into town yesterday to have a look at stage two, which started from the new Al Maryah island. We started out by watching the group as they came down the Corniche on their way out of the city, and then once again when they came back just before the sprint out to the Breakwater, after 155 km.
We were very impressed on how quickly they cleared the street, they only started a mere 5 minutes before the riders came through. But I guess when you get police cars like these tooting at you, you move!
There they came, a huge peloton zooming past!
When they had passed, we went to spend some time in the Fan Zone in Nation Towers.
This whole venue was dedicated to the sponsors, and it also had a kids' area and a large screen where they sent the race live.
We also had time for a coffee break on the balcony of the Nation Towers, while we waited for the riders to come back.
(Yes, Dan the man had come over from Doha for the day too!)
We had a superb view from up there, when they came back through before they went out on the Breakwater:
They had 2 km left when they passed us, so we just had time to run back into the Fan Zone to see them all finish on the big screen!
Today we have watched the third stage, the mountain stage, from the comfort of our sofa, aaahhh. They have been riding out in Al Ain for 186 km and finished off with the climb up the Jebel Hafeet mountain. Impressive how much juice they had left in their legs for that last uphill sprint!
Tomorrow evening we will be going to the Yas Marina Circuit to see the final stage, which is held entirely on the F1 track. They will do 26 laps - 143 km.