Dubai Tour requests HC status for 2015

The 2015 edition of the Dubai Tour has requested Hors Category status for the second edition of the race in 2015, with race organizers hoping the UCI will confirm a date of February 4-7 for the four days of racing.

The Dubai Tour is organised by the Dubai Sports Council and RCS Sport, who also organize the Giro d'Italia. They revealed their plans for 2015 in a press conference in Savona before the finish of stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia.

Mauro Vegni, the general director of cycling at RCS Sport revealed that the 2015 race is likely to consist of four road stages, with longer stages and a possible circuit stage in the hills to make a more selective race. Taylor Phinney (BMC) won the opening time trial in the inaugural edition of the Dubai Tour in February and managed to defend his lead as Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) dominated the three other sprint finishes.

"If the UCI confirms the dates in September at the world road race championships, the Dubai Tour will be the opening race on the Asian international calendar in 2015," Vegni said during the press conference.

"We've asked for the race to be given 2.HC (Hors Category) and hope to have the dates of February 4-7 2015. We're thinking of not having a time trial stage because it influences the race too much. Instead, were going to visit different parts of the country to help promote the best parts. We could have stages on circuits, including on the hilly roads near Hatta."

Osama Al Shafar, the president of the UAE Cycling Federation and the vice-president of the Dubai Tour High Committee promised that the race will continue to develop and improve year on year.

"We've organized world class championship events for sailing, swimming, tennis, football, beach soccer, F1 and rally. We will seek to improve the Dubai Tour every year to show off Dubai to make the race even more spectacular," he said.

"I think Dubai won big with the first edition. We reached our goals with the Dubai Tour and we're looking forward to 2015. It's going to be different and even better than 2014."

International links

RCS Sport refused to say how much the Dubai Tour costs or how much the Italian race organizer earned from the event but a recent report in Milano Finanza said the event had generated income of 5.5 million Euro before costs.

Vegni pointed out the race proves that RCS Sport can rival other organisers such as ASO and create major international events.

"We learned two important things from the Dubai Tour: We showed that we can organise major international events and we showed to other people that they're not the only ones who can organize events in foreign countries," he said with a hint of pride.

Vegni refused to respond to questions about a possible Giro d'Italia start in Dubai but was keen to strengthen links between Italy, Dubai and RCS Sport.

"Next year Italy hosts the Expo 2015. Dubai will host Expo 2020, so I think that a great event like the Dubai Tour is a good way to promote a country."

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