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Gallery: Dubai Tour team presentation

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Riders pile in to pose with Diego Maradona

Riders pile in to pose with Diego Maradona (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Skydive Dubai

Skydive Dubai (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Dubai Tour presentation

The Dubai Tour presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Dubai Tour presentation

The Dubai Tour presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The teams are presented for the Dubai Tour

The teams are presented for the Dubai Tour (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Diego Maradona with Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni

Diego Maradona with Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Sky

Team Sky (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Movistar

Movistar (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Bardiani CSF team

The Bardiani CSF team (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The 2015 Dubai Tour teams

The 2015 Dubai Tour teams (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team are presented

Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team are presented (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The United Arab Emirates team

The United Arab Emirates team (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giant-Alpecin

Giant-Alpecin (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Eddy Merckx poses with Fabio Aru

Eddy Merckx poses with Fabio Aru (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Riders shake out their legs before the team presentation

Riders shake out their legs before the team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andrea Guardini enjoying the fat bike

Andrea Guardini enjoying the fat bike (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Riders shake out their legs before the team presentation in Dubai

Riders shake out their legs before the team presentation in Dubai (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Riders shake out their legs before the team presentation

Riders shake out their legs before the team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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VIncenzo Nibali on the fat bike

VIncenzo Nibali on the fat bike (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andrea Guardini (Astana) does a fat bike selfie

Andrea Guardini (Astana) does a fat bike selfie (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lars Boom shows off his fat bike skills

Lars Boom shows off his fat bike skills (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexander Vinokourov takes a fat bike onto the dunes

Alexander Vinokourov takes a fat bike onto the dunes (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Dubai Tour team presentation

The Dubai Tour team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tiinkoff-Saxo

Tiinkoff-Saxo (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Vanotti (Astana) with football legend Diego Maradona

Alessandro Vanotti (Astana) with football legend Diego Maradona (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The 2015 Dubai Tour presented the 16 teams that will contest the event this week with a colourful opening ceremony where the riders, Dubai ruling family member Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, and even cycling legend Eddy Merckx were upstaged by the presence of famed footballer Diego Maradona.

The teams were treated to entertainment by trials rider Vittorio Brumotti and other live performances before taking to the stage for the traditional line-up.

The race is lacking its defending champion Taylor Phinney (BMC) who is still recovering from a serious leg injury sustained last May. He sent his regrets to the race. “I’m sorry I can’t be there for the second edition of the Dubai Tour," Phinney said. "I was humbled and honoured to win the first edition. But unfortunately I’m still recovering from a broken leg. I should be back in a couple of months, and I’m definitely excited to get back, but sorry I’m not there. I wish everybody the best of luck.”

Riders are looking forward to the four stages of racing to shake the winter miles into race fitness. Sprinter John Degenkolb said, “It is good to start racing again. It has been a long winter, I’ve done long days on the bike but without intense work. I’m really happy to be here and do some racing. Hopefully I’ll be involved in some sprints, get in one or two good fights and perhaps get a nice result. I’m in a good mood, it’s nice to be here and to have some fun. The German winter wasn’t very nice, so I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward to the race."

Mark Cavendish is a step ahead, having already raced the Tour de San Luis. "It’s good to get the early season flowing. No one’s in their July form, it’s about getting the training in, getting some sprints under your belt, and getting the team working," he said.

The United Arab Emirates will field a team in this year's race. One of the riders, Badr Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Alhammadi sees the race as a target for the future. “Cycling in the United Arab Emirates is still very young but I see a big future for the sport here in the coming years," he said. "The government is supporting cycling, and it is wonderful to have a stage race of this quality here, bringing the best riders in the world here. I consider myself very lucky to be able to take part in such a race.”

You can see the full gallery of the team presentation here.