Dubai: The first stage of the Dubai Tour cycling event next year will most certainly be around key Dubai landmarks such as Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab while one stage will be dedicated to showcasing Dubai’s exterior such as the Hatta mountain area, according to a top official of the event. The inaugural edition of the Tour has been tentatively scheduled from February 5-8, a week before the Tour of Qatar.

Disclosing this to Gulf News, Saeed Hareb, President, Dubai Tour 2014 has hailed the support for cycling from Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman, Dubai Sports Council, in raising the profile of the sport in the UAE.

“Shaikh Hamdan has shown the way by backing an event like the 70-kilometre Nad Al Sheba Ramadan cycling race with a huge prize fund,” Hareb said after a meeting of the Higher Organising Committee on Friday. “This has sent the right sort of signals to the entire cycling world and it is our duty now to cash in on this.

“The huge attendance of cyclists and participants from the expatriates living in the UAE was testimony of what we can possibly expect when the Dubai Tour is organised for the first time next year.”

Hareb was one of the key officials supervising last week’s 70km cycle race held under the umbrella of the Nad Al Sheba Ramadan Championships that concluded with the futsal tournament late on Saturday. Held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan, the Nad Al Sheba Ramadan Championships had a total prize fund of Dh7 million for three key competitions in futsal, volleyball and padel tennis, along with one-off events that included the 70km cycle race, a 10km road run and an exhibition futsal match involving international stars.

Last weekend’s meeting also deliberated a tentative route for the four-stage race considering that the main motive of the event would be to showcase Dubai to the world through the event. Attended by First Vice President Yousuf Jawad, Second Vice President Osama Al Shafar and Race Director Huraiz Bin Huraiz, the Dubai Tour 2014 will be held in close coordination with Italy-based RCS.

While the UCI calendar for 2014 will not be finalised until the world championships in Florence in September, the organising committee is expecting to be awarded the HC status from the world governing body, just like the Tours of Qatar and Oman.

Plans are afoot from the organisers to have 70 per cent of the places awarded to World Tour teams and 30 per cent to Pro Continental teams and a few Asian teams as well due to the event being an Asia Tour race.