Between mountains and desert, substantial menu for the riders
January 22 nd 2024 - 17:18 [GMT + 3]
The 2024 edition of the AlUla Tour will take place from 30 January to 3 February 2024 over five stages in the heart of the historic and mountainous region of AlUla, giving the puncheurs-grimpeurs and sprinters a chance to express themselves.
The route, around the historic site of AlUla, will take the riders through several exceptional sites such as AlManshiyah train station, the Sharaan nature reserve and Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The AlUla Tour (formerly the Saudi Tour) is living up to its new name, with five stages contested in the AlUla region, a tourist destination with a rich historical heritage and timeless landscapes. The unprecedented start at the foot of the Hegra tombs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, promises a grandiose visual spectacle that the riders in the international peloton will not soon forget.
Early season races in the Middle East have often been favourable for sprinters, and Dylan Groenewegen will be keen on winning once again in the Saudi desert and wear the jersey of his Jayco-AlUla team with pride. The climbers and puncheurs will also be out in force, with Simon Yates, who finished fourth in the last Tour de France, expected to liven up the mountain stage. The final stage of the AlUla Tour and the final climb towards Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid promises a fierce battle for the overall classification, with an average gradient of 17% over one kilometer.
Before reaching the end of this fifth and final stage, the riders will have to cover several hundred kilometers through the winding roads of the Saudi desert and mountains. After a first stage promised to the sprinters and a second which could smile to the puncheurs with its bumpy finish leading to the Sharaan nature reserve. The third stage has the potential to shake up the expected scenario with a brand new finish around the AlUla Camel Cup Track. Race director Jean-Marc Marino warns: "With this straight stretch of almost twenty kilometers exposed to the wind, we can expect to see a lot of echelons, as was the case in 2023 during the second stage".
The fourth leg, from Hegra to Maraya, is a small-scale reflection of Saudi Arabia. A site steeped in history as the starting point, combined with the modernity of Maraya, a cultural space made up of mirrors offering a unique perception of the neighbouring desert landscape, as the finishing point.