Abu Dhabi Sports Council, organisers of the newly-launched UAE Tour Women, have kept a tight lid on the route and revealed the details of each stage just two weeks from the start of the event, held from February 9-12.
The new four-day race will mark the third round of the 2023 Women’s WorldTour, after the Women’s Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, both held in Australia in January.
The route will offer the peloton three flat days of racing for the sprinters on stage 1 in Dubai, and then stage 2 and stage 4 in Abu Dhabi.
There will also be one GC-deciding day for the climbers on the penultimate stage 3 atop Jebel Hafeet, also in Abu Dhabi.
The UCI confirmed last June that five events were added to the Women’s WorldTour calendar for 2023, taking the total number of events in the season to 30. The additions included the return of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, upgrades to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Tour de Suisse, along with the return of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race after a two-year hiatus.
UAE Tour Women marked a brand new event held across four stages the week before the men’s race, which has been held since 2019.
The peloton will begin a total of 468km of racing at the UAE Tour Women with a 109km opener from Port Rashid to Dubai Harbour. The entire route runs along wide and flat roads where the sprinters can expect to have their moment to take the first leader’s jersey.
In Abu Dhabi, the second day of racing is also for the sprinters on stage 2’s 133km race from Al Dhafra Castle to Al Mirfa. It is routed mainly through paved desert roads and ends with a 60km stretch toward the coast into Al Mirfa.
The most decisive day of the event, and one for the climbers, is stage 3. The 107km route begins in Hazza bin Zayed Stadium and ends atop Jebel Hafeet, a 10km ascent.
The final climb winds through wide-ranging hairpin bends on a three-lane roadway. The average gradient is 8-9%, but with a peak of 11% at 3km from the finish. There is a short descent in the last kilometre before a final ramp upwards to the finish line.
The last day of racing offers a 119km route from Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy to Abu Dhabi Breakwater, where there is expected to be a third bunch sprint to conclude the UAE Tour Women.