Mark Cavendish, Fabian Cancellara, Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan will be the stars of the inaugural Dubai Tour in February, with Cancellara the favourite to win the opening time trial, while the sprinters are set to clash on the other three stages.
The route of the new early-season race was revealed at the official presentation in Dubai on Tuesday morning. Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport is organising the race with the Dubai Sports Council.
The 16 teams of eight riders will include 11 ProTeams and the first three teams classified in the UCI Asia Tour 2013, plus the United Arab Emirates national team and the Dubai Sky Dive team.
The race begins on Wednesday February 5 with a 10km time trial in the down town area of Dubai, amongst the skyscrapers and offices of the modern city.
The 122km second stage visits the most important sports buildings in Dubai, including as the Hippodrome, the Olympic pool, the new Al Qudra cycling path, the Autodrome and the Golf Club. It ends overlooking the sea in the Palm Jumeirah archipelago resort.
The third stage is the longest of the race at 162km and will leave the city and pass through the desert to finish in Hatta. The final 60km of racing includes two minor climbs but a descent to Hatta should set up another sprint finish.
The 124km fourth and final stage will cross the old part of Dubai, passing two of the most iconic Dubai buildings: the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world. Every stage will start from the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The race will be shown live and in HD in 70 countries, including Eurosport.
"We are pleased to host the inaugural Dubai Tour 2014 as it puts the spotlight on Dubai as a hub for important international sporting events,” Saeed Hareb, the chairman of the Dubai Tour High Committee said.
Lorenzo Giorgetti, the RCS Sport Commercial Director is the Events Dubai Director.
“We are really proud to be here today to underline our partnership with Dubai Sports Council and show how the development of the Dubai Tour project is now in its final stage,” he said.
“The course presentation, the sponsor’s introduction and the appointment of the TV broadcaster are all part of this great project that we have developed together in the last few months. We are now less than 60 days away from the start of the first edition of Dubai Tour and we are sure that this unique event will be widely appreciated at an international level.”