The Abu Dhabi Tour is now part of the same calendar as the Tour de France

Get ready to see more of cycling’s biggest names racing in the nation’s capital.

The Abu Dhabi Tour has been granted World Tour status by the sport’s governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale, meaning that from 2017, the event will appear on the same calendar as the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, along with other events such as the legendary, one-day ‘cobbled classic’, Paris-Roubaix.

Even more importantly, every single one of cycling’s 18 professional teams, such as Team Sky and BMC Racing Team, have to take part in World Tour races – and that means you’re likely to see more of the sport’s biggest stars, such as Abu Dhabi Tour ambassador and British Olympic hopeful Mark Cavendish, riding in the nation’s capital for at least the next three years, as a result.

Cycling fans will actually get to see two Abu Dhabi Tours in the next six months. The 2016 edition takes place October 20 to 23, and then the 2017 edition (the first with World Tour status) runs from February 23 to 26, the same month as the Dubai Tour, Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman. The 2018 and 2019 edition Tours will also run in February.

The race features four stages, one in the emirate’s Western Region, another in the capital itself, a third up Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain and a final stage at the city’s iconic F1 track, Yas Marina Circuit. The pro-peloton will cover more than 500km over the course of the race.