The UAE Tour ended on Saturday, 27th of February, in an extremely successful fashion for myself and my team. Red T-shirt for the victory in the general classification, white T-shirt for the best young rider, stage victory in the 3rd stage, and the title of the best team in the race. What more could a person want? We are also proud of the fact that we presented ourselves in the best possible light as a team competing in the home environment. The feedback and responses of the “domestic” public were extraordinary! We have done the most we can for the popularity of cycling in this part of the world. By winning the UAE Tour I also managed to fulfill my first big goal of the season.
On Saturday night, together with the entire team (competitors and accompanying staff) we were able to celebrate the victory at dinner at one of the hotels in Dubai, as flights to Europe were booked only for the next day – Sunday. For a few hours, we had some fun and celebrated the first victory of the UAE Team Emirates at the UAE Tour.
The very next day, most of the team left for home, while I stayed in the UAE with Gaviria and Formolo due to sponsorship obligations. Therefore on Sunday morning, we rode our bikes to the areas of Abu Dhabi (Aldar Properties) together with their director. After the hard days of racing, it was quite a pleasure to cycle in a relaxed way, as there was no need to “push” the bike to the limit. In the afternoon, we also had some sponsorship obligations at Yas Marina Circuit in terms of “meet-and-greet”. After that, a qualifying race was organized for amateur cyclists. The best in individual groups qualified for the finals and then they could compete with us – Gaviria, Formolo, Mirza and me. Despite all the restrictions, the event took place in a pleasant and cheerful atmosphere.
After completing the sponsorship obligations, we headed back to Dubai, followed by a short break at the hotel and then a night flight home. On Monday, after arriving home, the first thing I did was to sleep for quite some time. Sunday was quite tiring and full of activities, which I still haven’t completely got used to. This week was dedicated to a short regeneration and preparations for Saturday’s “Strade Bianche” race… we stay in touch.