Dubai: The Dubai Tour is looking to add a number of stages in a couple of years and at least be on par with the Giro, according to a top official. The second edition of the cycling showpiece, which finds a place on the UCI Asia calendar, will be held from February 4-7.
“We have to admit that we are ambitious, for the UAE and for Dubai. We have achieved much in just two years, and we are always looking at ways to raise the bar every time. With all apologies to RCS [race organisers], we want to be the best in the world of cycling,” Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, DSC, told a press conference on Tuesday.
“In the next couple of years, we want to increase the number of stages and at least be on par with the Giro. We realise that to reach our goal, four stages in the race are not enough. So the number of stages needs to increase. We are already good, but we want to get better and reach a top level like the Tour de France or the Giro,” he added.
World-renowned fashion house Paul Smith has teamed up with Italian apparel house Castelli to design the stage leaders’ jerseys for this year’s race. Paul Smith’s iconic style and attention to detail is evident in the design as he has incorporated an ultra-violet layer into the back of the jerseys.
Hareb thanked title sponsors Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Emirates and Dubai Sports Channel.
“The Dubai Tour is a long-term commitment for CBD as we have a three-year agreement with them. We have a common ambition in creating a happy and healthy city,” said Peter Baltusen, CEO of CBD.
The second edition of the Dubai Tour will again have four road stages, totalling 663 kilometres. The race, organised by the Dubai Sports Council in partnership with Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport, has been upgraded to 2.HC status and, in all, 11 World Tour squads and four other teams will make up the 128-rider start list.
Marcel Kittel, who won three of the four stages last year, will be the notable exclusion, but Team Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali has confirmed he will be present for the four-day race. The race will include a 17 per cent uphill finish overlooking the Hatta Dam and a 60 per cent increase in the total race distance. And for the first time the opening day’s Time Trial has been replaced with a proper stage over 145 kilometres with a start from the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC).