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Dubai to create new stage race for 2014

Stephen Farrand
January 4, 2013, 18:10,
January 7, 2013, 10:10
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 4, 2013
Racers at a Tour Dubai press con

Racers at a Tour Dubai press con

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Contador beats Nibali and Hesjedal in a desert sprint

The Dubai Sports Council has announced that the gulf Emirate will host a stage race in the spring of 2014 as part of a long-term plan to help develop cycling in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai has watched its neighbours Qatar and Oman develop their own races in recent years and now want their own "bigger and better" event. The final date and the length of the race have still to be decided.

"Dubai always does things in the best manner possible and I assure you that the Dubai Tour will be a force. It will be something greater than what's been seen anywhere else in the world," Rashid Al Awadhi, the head of marketing at the Dubai Sports Council told Cyclingnews and other media at the evening event.

"This is to show that we're serious about cycling. Our objective is to create champions here in the UAE and we'd like to create the next Alberto Contador, Ryder Hesjedal or Vincenzo Nibali out of the UAE. That's our long term goal. We've got to create the environment for that to happen, so the races are important, academies and creating the want from children to get into cycling."

The Dubai Tour was announced and a Versace-designed blue and yellow race jersey was unveiled during the official opening of the Dubai Cycling Course - a 68km bike circuit and facility in the desert so local riders and tourists can ride safely in Dubai. Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport helped organise the event and is expected to work on the organisation of the Dubai Tour.

Alberto Contador, Ryder Hesjedal, Vincenzo Nibali and Tony Martin all attended the event after spending New Year in Dubai. Martin competed against a race horse at the opening of the Dubai Cycling Course but was well beaten in the one-kilometre race. Contador, Hesjedal and Nibali also raced over a kilometre, with Contador securing his first "win" of the 2013 season.

"It was only one kilometre but hard and fast for the first week of January. It feels good to win but I think the more important thing is that cycling has come alive in Dubai," Contador said, hinting he would be at the start of the Dubai Tour in 2014.

"I think it'll be a beautiful race. They could include a team time trial, an individual time trial and of course for the sprinters there are lots of roads. I don't know about the mountain, maybe next year they will have built a one-kilometre mountain. If it's in the first part of the year it could be good for training for the rest of the season."

Garrigou More than 1 year ago
There's a fantastic 13km @ 7% climb called Jebel Hafeet about 100km from Dubai. Would make for a great finale to the event. I lived & rode in the UAE between 2006-2008 and there's a really healthy cycling scene there, hampered primarily by dangerous traffic conditions. So the 68km cycle path should be a real boost. Hope it all goes well.
rgmerk More than 1 year ago
Any locals, or all western expats?
Gianni340 More than 1 year ago
A lot of Emirati cyclists, and they have a very good level too.
philpaque More than 1 year ago
Jebel Hafeet summit finish would be great.
thebikeandnothingbut.... More than 1 year ago
Great!! Another race of flat, windswept, sandy roads, with perhaps the above mentioned hill top finish. Echelons with a sprint finish. But I guess they have the cash (and plenty of it) so they will come....................
Eric Blais More than 1 year ago
Many times, echellons make the best races. They can't all be mountain top finishes after 3 weeks of racing...
thebikeandnothingbut.... More than 1 year ago
Yes Eric, echellons make for great racing and not all terrain can be like Europe but really, do you think cycling will take off in the Middle East? These guys have bucket loads of cash so why not put on an event like they propose. May be the riders may finally get the pay they deserve for the training etc they put in. I don't know about you but I don't think I'll be hanging out for the coverage or results of the Dubai Tour when it gets up and running. Sleepless nights are reserved for the Monuments and Grand Tours, not the Mickey Mouse Middle east events.
Gianni340 More than 1 year ago
Maybe you should hop an a plane and come see what the Middle East has to offer before making the usual stereotype comments !!
dudeabides More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing to spend New Year's in the Emirates was a juicy fee for Contador, Martin, It all looks surreal and eerie based on the gallery
CobbleStoner More than 1 year ago
so wrong on so many levels, what about a women's race? with equal prize money, ya, that will never happen in the mid east. why anybody would go spend money in places where there is censorship and oppression doesn't make sense to me, China, the middle east, India, stand up for your morals, money isn't everything. you can go to jail for having sex in Dubai, my friend spent time in jail there because he had a porn dvd in his record bag that he didn't even know was there, somebody gave to him at a previous gig and he forgot it was in there. look at the pro peloton, it is very diverse with riders from a whole range of countries these days, cycling does not need globalization, keep it european, that is the tradition, that is what most fans want to see, the Flemish/french/Italian/Spanish countryside, not some pre fab track in the desert with no fans there watching along the road
Brian Butterfield More than 1 year ago
As well as the next Marianne Vos and Lizzie Armitstead. That would show you are serious, Rashid.