It’s time for the second stage race of the WorldTour season: the UAE Tour Women. From Thursday, 8th to Sunday, 11th of February the peloton will tackle the Emirates between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, through the desert and up to the dreadful Jebel Hafeet. Two days for sprinters, one hard mountain top finish and a stage, which could smash the bunch into pieces with strong winds in the desert – that’s what this race is made of.
Stage 1 is a city affair: Starting at Dubai Miracle Garden, the race will leave the mega city in the first half of the race, but will return in the second half to then finish at Dubai harbour – just like it did last year, when Charlotte Kool won ahead of Lorena Wiebes and Chiara Consonni.
On day two the peloton will race through the desert. From Al Mirfa, where this stage finished in 2023, the peloton heads south to Madinat Zayed, where the stage could again finish in a bunchsprint – or the bunch could be divided into multiple groups, if it’s a windy day like last year, when Wiebes beat Kool to take revenge for her defeat 24 hours before.
Stage 3 then will be the decisive one for the General Classification: Starting at the Al Ain Police Museum, the parcours leads the peloton to the west out of Al Ain and onto a big highway, where echelons are looming. But in the end it will all come down to the fearsome climb up to Jebel Hafeet – with the final 9.2 kilometres ramping up at 7.2%.
The grand finale of the week awaits in Abu Dhabi then on Sunday, when the peloton starts at the Louvre Abu Dhabi and heads towards the waterfront at Abu Dhabi Breakwater – a classic sprint finish of the men’s race since years, and the place of Charlotte Kool’s second victory against Chiara Consonni and Lorena Wiebes in 2023. It’s a tricky finish with some slight bends with an important right turn and some slight bends in the final kilometre.
After a 1-2 from Trek – Segafredo with Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini at the inaugural edition twelve months ago, the fight for the red jersey is completely open again this year, with even more strong climbers being present in the Emirates. Longo Borghini and Realini (both Lidl – Trek) will have to take on their italian compatriots Erica Magnaldi and Silvia Persico (both UAE Team ADQ), spanish star rider Mavi Garcia (Liv – AlUla – Jayco), german Tour de France stage winner Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon // SRAM Racing), World Champion Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx – Protime) and many more.
On the three flat stages it will come to a head-to-head of Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx – Protime) and Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ). They will meet Emma Norsgaard Bjerg (Movistar), Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health), Letizia Paternoster (Liv – AlUla – Jayco), Clara Copponi (Lidl – Trek) and others in what will be the first three real high-end battles of the ‘crème de la crème’ of sprinters in the new season. Last year’s double stage winner Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich – PostNL) was supposed to race the UAE Tour Women again as well, but won’t be able to start due to sickness.
With no other climb next to the Jebel Hafeet throughout the whole week, the UAE Tour Women will not award a climber’s jersey. But still there is four colours to fight for: Red is the colour of the overall leader and final winner of the race, green is the jersey for the points classification, white stands for the best young rider and a black jersey will be awarded to the best rider at the intermediate sprints, of which two are waiting every day.
The General Classification will be decided by the cummulation of the finishing times of each stage for each rider. But bonifications will be awarded for the Top 3 of each stage, with 10, 6 and 4 seconds. Besides that there are also bonifications on the line at all of the 8 intermediate sprints (2 per stage) with 3, 2 and 1 seconds for the Top 3 there. If two or more riders are tied on the same overall time, the lower sum of their placings on all stages will decide, who leads. If that number is the same, the better placing on the final stage will decide.
For the points classification (green jersey), 8, 5, 3 and 1 points are awarded at each intermediate sprint and 20, 16, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points at each stage finish. For the black jersey only the points collected at the intermediate sprints will be taken into consideration.
The Prize Money
A total amount of 100.000 Euro will be handed out as prize money at the UAE Tour Women, as the race organizers in the middle east exceed the sum olbigated by UCI rules by far. Therefore the overall winner of the race earns 15.000€, the 2nd placed rider on the GC gets 7.000€ and the 3rd placed 4.500€. Each stage victory is worth 1.935€, the winner of the points classification gets 3.000€ and the winners of the white and black jersey as well as the team classification 2.000€.