Dubai is joining Oman and Qatar as the next GCC cycling destination with the first edition of Dubai Tour that starts on Wednesday with a 10-kilometre time trial. The inaugural sports events is drawing the world’s elite with Cavendish, Sagan, Phinney and Martin starring in the new race and Dubai is about to shine again with its spectacular scenery and iconic architecture.
Grand tour winners, world champions, and most of the cycling stars have gathered in Dubai for the first edition of the 4-day season-opening race, part of the International Cycling Union Asia Tour event. Organized by Dubai Sports Council and RCS Sport, Dubai Tour 2014 is taking place from 5th to 8th February and includes four stages. Starting with a 10-km individual time trial Wednesday afternoon, the riders are facing fierce competition as a total of 16 teams are taking part, including 11 UCI Pro Teams, three UCI Continental Teams, as well as the UAE national team and the Dubai Sky Dive Team.
Besides being a new stop for professional cycling, Dubai Tour promises to be a huge success with so many big names competing. However, it is far more than just a sports event – it is presenting the emirate with another great opportunity to show the world its value and remarkable qualities. In Dubai, each event is considered a chance to market the city as a tourist, travel and business destination. And what better way to boost Dubai’s reputation than hosting a popular, elite sporting event that attracts thousands and even millions of viewers around the world? Tour de France, for instance, is among the most watched and loved sporting events and is famous for showcasing the country’s beauty, the cities’ architecture and even the French culture around the world.
Of course, the first Dubai pro cycling race will be completely different from Europe’s grand tours, but this is exactly the reason why it is going to be so intriguing. The exotic setting of the Burj Khalifa or the Palm will bring even more appeal to the race, whether you are watching it on TV or live on the streets. However, locals seem to be hardly enthusiastic about the race – instead of promoting Dubai Tour among the population, headlines are mostly concerned with the inconvenience and road closures it is causing! Obviously, there will be nothing ordinary and boring about the race in Dubai and international sports fans are most likely to be pleased. Businesses are also going to turn heads in Dubai’s direction, which will further influence the local economy and industries. The importance of Dubai Tour can be easily seen by the impressive list of riders that are taking part.
The official entry list includes the reigning Road World Champion, Alberto Rui Costa (Lmpre-Merida), time trial world champion Tony Martin, Grand Tour winners Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde and Ryder Hesjedal, and of course the biggest names in sprint – Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Peter Sagan (Cannondale). Fabian Cancellara, Joaquin Rodriguez, Taylor Phinney and Ji Cheng are of course also on the list; with the only major name missing being Chris Froome.