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Dubai Tour to get bigger in its fifth edition

Organisers unveil route and jerseys for marquee cycling event, to be held from February 6-10

Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
The new features of the 2018 Dubai Tour will include a new start venue at Skydive Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai: The Dubai Tour cycling, which turns five next year, promises to get bigger and better. The five-stage event, covering a total of 851 kms, will be held from February 6-10, 2018.

“In just four editions, the Dubai Tour has recorded an increase in all aspects. We have included an additional race day, we have visited the surrounding Emirates and we have increased the stages’ length and we can today see the results on our roll of honour,” Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council (DSC) told a gathering of dignitaries, sponsors and media to disclose details of the fifth edition at the Meraas City Walk, late on Monday.

 This is one of the prime events on our calendar, and none of the success would have been possible without the support of sponsors and governmental authorities.”

 - Saeed Hareb » General Secretary, DSC 

“Names like Taylor Phinney, Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel certify our results, at least in sporting terms. But that’s not all. Last year the Dubai Tour was broadcast in 182 countries all over the world indicating a 17 per cent increase compared to 2016 and a 64 per cent rise to 2015. Additionally, every edition has seen more and more media outlets coming on board for our veent and to us that means a few thousand of online and printed articles,” he added.

In a little less than two months, the 2018 Dubai Tour will mark its fifth edition with a new schedule in the international calendar. The new features of the Dubai Tour will include a new start venue. After one year at the Dubai World Trade Centre and the past three years at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), the race headquarters, the official fan village and everything related to the start procedures will be hosted at Skydive Dubai along Dubai Marina.

“The formula will be the same as last year involving five stages totalling 851km passing through six Emirates along the route,” Hareb noted.

“This is one of the prime events on our calendar, and none of the success would have been possible without the unflinching support of the sponsors and all governmental authorities who have made this race their own through their involvement and engagement,” he added.

Last year, Quick-Step Floors’ rider Kittel had sprinted away with the final stage while sweeping away the rest of the honours and become the only rider so far to successfully defend his crown in Dubai. The German, known for his strong finishes, raced past Team Sky’s Elia Viviani, Astana Pro Team’s Riccardo Minali and great rival Mark Cavendish of Team Dimension Data at the Meraas City Walk.

“Today, this is an event that has grown in stature and size. And while we enjoy hosting a whole breed of top-class riders during the course of our event, it is the undivided attention of the sporting world that helps Dubai and the UAE portray itself into millions of homes across the globe,” Hareb noted.

“Things are falling in place as we attempt to do better than what we achieved last year. This marks growth and shows improvement,” he added.

Five stages of Dubai Tour 2018

Time Table

1. NAKHEEL STAGE: February 6 (Tuesday) Skydive Dubai — Palm Jumeirah (167km)

On the first day the route will take the riders through some of the city’s most ambitious construction projects: Motor City (residential community area), the Global Village (the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination) and the Hamdan Sports Complex, a modern multi-purpose sports arena with a capacity of 15,000. Then there is the Al Qudra bike path, well-known by the riders because it is where the teams usually do their final preparations and close to Al Maktoum International Airport, the peloton will pass next to Dubai South, where the 2020 Dubai Expo will be held. After the 4.38 sq km of world fair’s site, some Dubai landmarks such as the commercial port and business hub of Jebel Ali, Jumeirah Islands and finally, Palm Jumeirah — which will host the final sprint in front of the Atlantis ‘door’.

2. RAS AL KHAIMAH STAGE: February 7 (Wednesday) Skydive Dubai — Ras Al Khaimah (190km)

The stage sees the peloton ride through four different Emirates: Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. During the first part the peloton will ride through the Dubai Design District. Then, on a flat route near the coast to Ajman and the Umm Al Quwain territory, famous both as an archaeological site and for the amazing islands that lie to the east of the mainland peninsula. After 190km, the stage will end with another sprint on the Al Qawasim Corniche Road.

3. FUJAIRAH STAGE: February 8 (Thursday) Skydive Dubai — Fujairah (190km)

This stage, from Dubai to Fujairah is similar to 2016’s opening stage that was won by German rider Marcel Kittel after a compelling sprint. In 2018, however, the peloton will not ride directly to Fujairah, passing first through the town of Kalba (Sharjah’s exclave), where there is an Intermediate sprint. Then, on a flat route that overlooks the Indian Ocean, the finish will be on Fujairah’s Corniche Road.

4. DUBAI MUNICIPALITY STAGE: February 9 (Friday) Skydive Dubai — Hatta Dam (172km)

This is exactly the same stage that last year was cancelled due to bad weather; a route through the deserts of Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, to reach the Hatta Dam. Before the dam, there are two climbs up to a 11 per cent gradient, then the finale to the dam itself with a short stretch of about 200 metres featuring an inclination from 12 to 17 per cent. This iconic stage, normally celebrated for the beautiful landscape and usually won by a puncheur, has never upset the general classification.

5. MERAAS STAGE: February 10 (Saturday) Skydive Dubai — City Walk (132km)

The final day is a spectacular parade entirely within the city of Dubai. Along the way, the peloton will celebrate Dubai’s best-loved monuments and landmarks, starting off with the astonishing Meydan Racecourse — home of the world’s richest horse race — to the family-oriented Mushrif Park, Al Mamzar, the historical Deira, the famous Port Rashid and the historical Union House. Just like last year, the grand finale will take place at Al Mustaqbal Street at City Walk District with the fascinating Dubai skyline as a backdrop.

A look at the jerseys at stake

For the fifth consecutive year, the Dubai Tour jerseys will be provided by Castelli, one of the cycling industry’s leading brands. The four different jerseys are made using a high-tech fabric supplied by SITIP that is both UV-protective and allows for a very rapid rate of heat dissipation. There are four colours, one for each classification, starting with the most prestigious, the blue for the leader of the general classification.

Blue Jersey (For General Classification)

This jersey is worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the leader of the general classification. In previous editions it has been won by six different riders: Marcel Kittel (5 times), Taylor Phinney (3), Mark Cavendish (2), Giacomo Nizzolo, Elia Viviani and John Degenkolb once each.

Sponsor: Commercial Bank of Dubai

Dr. Bernd van Linder, CBD Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very pleased to again play a part in this year’s Dubai Tour 2018 which has become one of the world’s most iconic and popular cycling event. Dubai Tour beautifully aligns with CBD’s corporate social responsibility objectives of promoting a healthy lifestyle. This event contributes significantly to elevating the UAE’s sports sector and embodies the vision of the government to develop and promote sports in the UAE. We have had a successful partnership with Dubai Sports Council since 2014 and we are pleased to be part of the Dubai Tour 2018’s success.”


Red Jersey (For Points Classification)

This jersey is worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the fastest sprinter, who has obtained the best positions in each stage and intermediate sprints. Since 2014, the red jersey has been won by only five riders: Marcel Kittel (5 times), Mark Cavendish (3), Taylor Phinney (2), Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani.

Sponsor: Emirates

Khalid Bel Jaflah, Divisional Vice-President, Commercial Operations, UAE and Oman said: “The Dubai Tour has become a premier cycling challenge that attracts global talent and Emirates is proud to have been a part of it from the very beginning. Emirates is committed to supporting Dubai as a world-class sporting destination that hosts globally recognised events like the Dubai Tour.”


White Jersey (For Young Rider Classification)

This jersey is worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the best U25 young rider in the overall classification, the name to watch out for in the future. In previous years, this jersey was won by Dylan Groenewegen (4 times), Taylor Phinney (3), Soufiane Haddi (3), Paolo Simion (2) and Mic Valgren Andersen.

Sponsor: RTA (Roads and Transport Authority)

Ebrahim Al Haddad, Head of RTA’s Sports Team, said: “Now entering its fifth edition, the Dubai Tour will once again host the best teams and riders that cycling has to offer. RTA remains a proud sponsor of the 2018 Dubai Tour for the fifth year in a row. We sponsor this international event as part of our ongoing support of one of the world’s landmark cycle races. The increasing importance of this event, locally and internationally, has enhanced the prestigious position of Dubai as a leading organizer of a variety of activities including sporting events. As a strategic partner of the Dubai Sports Council, we consider the Dubai Tour as a great opportunity to show the world the latest developments in our beautiful territory. RTA has always made every effort to support a number of diverse social, sports and community activities in the UAE generally and specifically in the emirate of Dubai, as part of its corporate social responsibility.”

The UAE Flag Jersey (For Intermediate Sprint Classification)

This jersey is worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the rider who gained more Intermediate Sprint Points than any other rider. Eight riders have been leaders of this classification: Nicola Boem (4 times), Taylor Phinney (2), Marcin Bialoblocki, Alessandro Bazzana, Davide Frattini, Soufiane Haddi, Jakobus Willem Smit and Ben Swift.

Sponsor: DHA (Dubai Health Authority)

Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “DHA is proud to support Dubai Tour which has seen a year-on-year growth in its scale and popularity. At the DHA, we are keen to work with governmental and private partners to educate the community on the benefits of a healthy eating and regular physical activity and to encourage them to adopt healthier lifestyles. Events such as the Dubai Tour reinforce the importance of fitness and sports in the community and encourage the younger generation to take on sports. We are proud to support Dubai Tour and are pleased to see its growth.”