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Dubai Tour organisers hope to lengthen race in 2015
The organisers of the Dubai Tour have said they are likely to try to extend the length of the race from four to five days in 2015 and confirmed that they are ready to host the start of the Giro d'Italia in the Emirate if all the logistical and organizational problems can be overcome.
Speaking after the successful inaugural edition of the Dubai Tour, both Saeed Hareb -the chairman of the local organising committee, and Lorenzo Giorgetti -the sales director of RCS Sport and the event director for the Dubai Tour, were upbeat.
"I think the Dubai Tour has started big. It's good news for cycling. It's a new event and from this very first edition, the riders have been first class," Giorgetti said.
"I think this is the only race in the world that takes place in one city, in a modern city. We did 400km in Dubai, that's very complex to manage. We (RCS Sport) know how to organise a race but here in Dubai they know how to organise a city. I'm sure this will lead to a bigger and better event in Dubai."
Hareb is an influential figure in Dubai sport and made sure the event had massive state support. Road closures were tight and the race richly funded to ensure high quality TV images. Belgian media reported that the Dubai Tour organisers got the pick of sports stars because it paid three times more than the start money offered by the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman.
Hareb always avoided speaking about money, preferring to find a diplomatic solution to extend the Dubai Tour in 2015 and beyond.
"We've started now and we show the world and we wanted to show the teams that were a capable organisation. Why not have a fifth stage?" Hareb said.
"It all depends on the space available on the race calendar. We're looking to make it five stages but there are also races in Qatar and Oman. We need approval so we don't clash with them but why not. Everyone was happy in Dubai and so we'd be happy to increase the numbers of the stages."
A Dubai Grande Partenza for the Giro d'Italia?
Dubai has already been suggested as a possible host for the start of the Giro d'Italia in years to come and both Hareb and Giorgetti confirmed it is a possibility.
Summer temperatures touch 40C in July, making it impossible to host the Tour de France but averages temperatures of 33C in early May. Dubai was recently awarded the 2020 Expo and will invest a reported $8.8bn in the event in the hope of attracting between 25 and 100 million new visitors to the country.
"If the Giro d'Italia wants to start from here, we're ready. It's up to RCS Sport," Hareb said.
Giorgetti was just as enthusiastic but also pragmatic about the logistical problems. He is keen to fully develop the Dubai Tour before bringing the Giro d'Italia start to the region.
"We're ready too," he said. "We'd need a lot of ingredients to make it possible: the support of the UCI for sure, the organisation from a logistical point of view is very complicated, the involvement of the teams is also important because we can't forget there's a six hour flight and a three-hour time difference. We have to respect the spirit of cycling but have to do it only when all the conditions are in place."
"We considered it at the very beginning but we now think that it's more important to establish the Dubai Tour. If the Giro d'Italia happens, it will happen but the Dubai Tour is the priority."