Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 odds
Who wins Abu Dhabi Tour 2018?
The Abu Dhabi Cycle Tour is a reasonably new race on the UCI World Tour, entering its fourth year in 2018 having started in 2015. It’s the third event on the 2018 UCI World Tour and begins on Wednesday 21st February, ending on Sunday 25th February. The race features one mountain stage along with a number of flat stages.
The 2017 version saw Portuguese cyclist Rui Costa, from UAE Team Emirates, win the mountain climb finish at Jebel Hafeet to earn the crown. He was joined on the podium by Ilnur Zakarin and Tom Dumoulin.
In previous years, given the mainly flat stages, sprinters have enjoyed great success. Namely Mark Cavendish, who has won three stages in the Abu Dhabi Tour, including two bunch sprinters in 2016, and one in 2017.
The 2018 race
The 2018 race will be the first time the Abu Dhabi event will consist of five stages, making the race one day longer than it has been in previous years.
The first stage is a flat 189 km, starting at Madinat Zayed. Stage two is another flat 167 km at Yas Island. Stage three, called Nation Towers, is a flat 151 km. Stage four, Al Maryah, is an 11.8km individual time trial. This will be the first year the race has included an individual time trial stage. And, finally, stage five is the 199 km mountain finish, ending with the summit climb at Jebel Hafeet.
Given the emphasis on flat stages, the race generally favours sprinters, however, expect one of the climbers to win the overall title. The summit finish at Jebel Hafeet provides the perfect platform for good climbers to leave the rest of the field behind, just like Rui Costa did last year, and Esteban Chaves and Tanel Kangert did in previous years.
Having both flat and mountain stages means a wide variety of professional cyclists are drawn to the event as sprinters, like Mark Cavendish, have their eyes on stage wins, while climbers will be competing for the overall winners jersey. This makes the tour particularly exciting!
Which riders will be competing?
The full start lists for each team are yet to be announced, but already top cycling names such as 2017 podium finisher Tom Dumoulin, and sprinters Caleb Ewan, Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish (who won stage 1 in the 2017 race) have confirmed they will ride.
Clearly, the top names in the sprinting business will be fancying fast finishes in the first three stages. And for the rest of the field, they will be waiting for the mountain stage to launch their attack. The final ending at the top of the Jebel Hafeet climb will certainly be an exciting one.