Dubai: Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the Dubai Cycling Course during a colourful function held at the circuit, located on Al Qudrah Road, towards Bab Al Shams Hotel, on Friday night.
He announced that Dubai will host the Dubai Tour 2014 with top international cyclists competing in the event.
Shaikh Mansour also made a tour of the bicycle museum along with Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA. This was followed by one-kilometre time trial exhibition race with Grand Tour winners Alberto Contador, Ryder Hesjidal and Vincenzo Nibali competing. Contador won the race, with Nibali finishing second and Hesjidal a close third.
Speaking after receiving the winner’s trophy from Shaikh Mansour, Contador said: “Today’s race was too short but I really loved it. It was a great initiative by the sports body here.”
Talking about the future of Dubai as a prominent centre for cycling competitions, Contador, who is a Spanish professional cyclist and one of five riders to have won all three Grand Tours of road cycling, added: “The facilities are good and it will be a big boost for the sport in Dubai.”
Italian professional road bicycle racer Vincenzo Nibali said: “In Dubai we have seen all sports being held, and it is nice to see that cycling too will make its mark soon. It is a good start [that has been made] right away by deciding to bring in top stars.”
When asked whether top riders will put themselves forward to participate in the Dubai Tour 2014, Nibali said: “Dubai’s decision to embrace cycling is exciting news for cyclists around the world, and I am sure all the top riders will be here in 2014 for the event.”
An acrobatic cycling display by Vittorio Brumotti enthralled the large gathering. A cyclist also competed against a horse cheered on by hundreds of spectators.