Top riders share objectives for Abu Dhabi Tour, the final race of season

A pre-race press conference for the final major stage race of the season, the Abu Dhabi Tour, was held Wednesday. The four-stage Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council with the collaboration of RCS Sport, will take place October 20-23, with three sprint stages and one medium-mountain stage.

In attendance at the press conference was the event’s official ambassador, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), along with many of the biggest names in the sport, including Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), seven-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), two-time Monument winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), six-time Grand Tour stage winner Michael Matthews (Orica-Bike Exchange), 11-time Tour de France stage winner André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Rio 2016 gold medalists Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Costa Rican rider Andrey Amador (Movistar) and local hero Yousif Mirza, the highest profile rider in the UAE.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): “Abu Dhabi is a fantastic location with a great hotel to host us. This is only my third race after my accident at the Olympics, following the Tre Valli Varesine and the Tour of Almaty. I’m looking to regain good race condition.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “I’m happy to be here at the Abu Dhabi Tour as our team is motivated for the flat stages and possibly for the mountain with Jesper [Hansen].”

John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin): “As I started the season later than usual due to the accident, I’m still motivated, especially because this is my last race with my friends from Giant-Alpecin.”

Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange): “I will definitely enjoy the Abu Dhabi Tour more than last year, as I’m more used to the weather after having prepared for the World Championships in Qatar, so I expect my performances to be better.”

André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal): “Our team has a bit of lack of a lead-out, but I’ll try to put myself into other lead-outs and we’ll find out how well it can work.”

Elia Viviani (Team Sky): “I have fond memories of my two stage victories here last year. I haven’t won any road races since March but we have a very strong lead out here and Nicolas Roche is also very motivated for the overall.”

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing): “It might not be the best parcours for me, but I’m delighted to race here on my golden bike as the Olympic Road Race champion. I’ll make it difficult for other riders to win and I want to finish this great season on a high note.”