Costa, Cancellara, Cavendish, Sagan and Phinney in action
16 teams will line up for the first edition of RCS Sport's Dubai Tour on February 5, including the world champion Rui Costa and his Lampre-Merida team.
The other WorldTour teams racing are Astana, BMC, Cannondale, Garmin-Sharp, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Giant-Shimano, Katusha, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing. There will also be four Continental teams: Banco Bic-Carmim from Portugal, Vini Fantini-Nippo De Rosa from Japan, RTS-Santic Racing Team from Taipei, Skydive Dubai and the United Arab Emirates national team.
The opening 10km time trial will be the first test of the year between the specialists: reigning world time trial Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), former world champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), ambitious American Taylor Phinney (BMC) and Briton Alex Dowsett (Movistar). The remaining three stages should favor the sprinters: Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Thor Hushvod (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).
There is but one opportunity for the climbers to stretch their legs on stage three: a 162km trek from Dubai into the desert to Hatta, which includes two small ascents, but it may not be enough for the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) or Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) to gain time.
The Dubai Tour will be shown live on Eurosport, RAI Sport 2 and as highlights on Australia Fox TV.