Abu Dhabi, 19 October 2016 – The press conference was opened by the Official Abu Dhabi Tour Ambassador, Mark Cavendish. In attendance alongside the Manxman were Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), seven time overall Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador (Spain), the duo of puncheurs John Degenkolb (Germany) and Michael Matthews (Australia), sprinter André Greipel (Germany), Rio 2016 gold medalists Elia Viviani (Omnium) from Italy and Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet (Individual Road Race), Costa Rican rider Andrey Amador and local hero Yousif Mirza, the highest profile rider in the UAE.
Before the press conference, the attending riders took time to have a photo session on the beach in front of Nation Towers in Abu Dhabi. You can download the pictures from the link below.
Top riders photo gallery
1) Mark Cavendish (British Isles – Team Dimension Data) Abu Dhabi Tour Official Ambassador
The world’s most successful sprinter ever and 2011 UCI Road World Champion Mark Cavendish, 31, added four Tour de France stage victories this year to his account to make it 30 up to date, only four down on all-tine record holder Eddy Merckx. A points classification winner in all three Grand Tours, he also wore the yellow jersey for the first time this year and claimed his first ever Olympic medal with the silver in the omnium track race, before finishing second at the UCI Road World Championships – just a bike’s length away from reclaiming his title.
Cavendish said: “I’m proud to be the ambassador of the Abu Dhabi Tour, and event that has incredible sponsors and a great future, being elevated to one of the pinnacle races in cycling already for next year. The caliber of riders here is similar to the Tour de France.”
2) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Astana Pro Team)
Vincenzo Nibali, 31, nicknamed “The Shark”, was already one of the six riders who won all three Grand Tours (France, Italy, Spain) in the history of cycling before he won the Giro d’Italia once again this year, as well as the Tour of Oman.
Nibali said: “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.”