Cycling chief backs substantial growth

Al Shafar predicts Dubai Tour will continue to make huge progress

Gulf News

Dubai: The President of the UAE Cycling Association (UAE CA) has promised the entire cycling fraternity will be solidly behind the raise in profile of the Dubai Tour.

“Whatever good happens to the Dubai Tour means a huge step for our sport. We are firmly behind any such move that will alleviate cycling in the UAE and in the Gulf region on the whole,” Osama Al Shafar, President, UAE CA told Gulf News after CBD had announced its support for the Dubai Tour for an additional three years.

“Have no misconception, but the Dubai Tour is pushing towards its ultimate goal of gaining a World Tour status in the near future, and we will be behind each and every move from the organisers,” he added.

Al Shafar, who has been personally involved in sponsoring local races through his family-backed Al Shafar Contracting, further reiterated that the presence of two local teams in the Dubai Tour — Skydive Dubai and Al Nasr Racing Team — are testimony to the growing profile of cycling in the UAE. “The ambitions are huge and we intend being with the Dubai Tour for the long haul,” Al Shafar said.

“Right now our focus is to get ready for a Dubai Tour that can possibly have five stages from next year [2017]. We are already in the process of putting together a plan for marketing the race at a much higher level than what it enjoys now,” he added.