Marcel Kittel of Quick-Step Floors emerged the winner of the fourth Dubai Tour. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai Tour kicks off on Tuesday with a 167km Nakheel Stage that will start from Skydive Dubai and head all the way to Al Qudra cycle track before heading back to Palm Jumeirah via some key roads including Umm Suqeim road, Al Khail road and Shaikh Zayed road. Here is the map for road closures:

Dubai Tour

Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Leo Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’ has been voted as the “greatest book ever written” through a Time poll of 125 contemporary authors. What tilted this accolade for this late 19th century classic was the unfolding of a plot with vital elements of suspense held together by the flawless, smooth magic of Tolstoy’s style.

Come Tuesday, it will witness the Dubai Tour’s fifth year on the UCI calendar. “The Tour is like going through a history book of our country within five days,” Tour Director Huraiz Bin Huraiz told Gulf News.

The winning moment as Dylan Groenewegen wins Dubai Tour Stage 1.

It has been these five years that have, much like the classic novel, shaped the direction and mode of making this race perhaps one of the ‘most wanted’ among top riders from across the board.

The week will once again witness the unfolding of a journey with back-to-back winner Marcel Kittel going head-to-head with another former champion Mark Cavendish, multiple Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali, Italian champions such as Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, Holland’s Dylan Groenewegen — who achieved the rare distinction of standing on the 2017 Dubai Tour podium every day and ultimately finish third in the General Classification — and 2017 European Road Champion Alexander Kristoff of Norway.


Route the cyclists will cover over the five days during Dubai Tour

Being an invitation-only event helps as 16 of the best teams from across the globe take on the demanding 851-km over five days concluding at The Walk by Meraas along Al Wasl Road on February 10. Of the participating teams, nine are UCI WorldTour squads, another five are UCI Professional Continental sides along with one UCI Continental Team and the UAE National Team as special guests.

“Over the five stages everyone involved — whether it is television viewers around the world or the fans following their favourite riders and teams — will be transported through fantastic scenes from deserts to modern-day landmarks. For us, it is an attempt to recreate something that is dear to our hearts,” Bin Huraiz added.

Most authentic

The Dubai Tour is not a mere cycle race for Italian organisers RCS and Dubai Sports Council (DSC) as they jointly try to fit in place something unique and memorable. “If we look behind over the past few years we are convinced that we have achieved something distinct within such a limited time frame. The focus has always been on putting forward one novelty each year. This one aspect has ensured that the event maintains its uniqueness and at the same time we have a freshness to put forward before the world,” he added.

This week too is going to be no different as organisers seek to marry the vastness of heritage with modern-day progress across the emirates. “This year our deliberate focus will be on our past as we take the riders past landmarks such as Dubai Museum in the old quarter of the city. At the same time we have ensured we do not neglect modernity while touching upon areas like Port Rashid, Dubai Canal and City Walk where the tour is scheduled to end,” Bin Huraiz related.

Dubai Tour 2018 route

“The Port Rashid area is by far one of the most important projects undertaken by our leaders in recent times. The attempt here is to recreate a new feel that will blend the old with the modern. It is a project for the future and we want the world to see this,” he continued.

“It is due to this very reason that my favourite is, and perhaps, will always be the fifth and final stage. On the final day the riders really get a feel of what Dubai is all about. They get a glimpse into our history, culture and our past. To me, this is the ‘most authentic’ stage, if we may call it. Not only do we get a rare sight of what Dubai was in the past, but we also get transported to another era. This stage has always been close to my heart,” Bin Huraiz added.

“It’s going to be memorable. The race will be fast and challenging and in the end only one team will be at the top step of the podium.”