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Kittel, Cancellara and Gilbert lead training ahead of Dubai Tour - Gallery

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Tinkoff-Saxo show off another of their special training jerseys

Tinkoff-Saxo show off another of their special training jerseys (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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The Etixx-QuickStep riders hitch a ride

The Etixx-QuickStep riders hitch a ride (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Alexander Vinokourov brought his special edition gold Specialized

Alexander Vinokourov brought his special edition gold Specialized (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Ergonomic handlebars for Alexander Vinokourov's bike

Ergonomic handlebars for Alexander Vinokourov's bike (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Rui Costa and his Lampre-Merida team

Rui Costa and his Lampre-Merida team (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep)

Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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The top riders at the Dubai Tour line up

The top riders at the Dubai Tour line up (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Fabian Cancellara has a laugh ahead of the Dubai Tour

Fabian Cancellara has a laugh ahead of the Dubai Tour (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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The top riders at the Dubai Tour line up

The top riders at the Dubai Tour line up (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Tinkoff-Saxo show off their special training jersey, a nod to local resident Diego Maradona

Tinkoff-Saxo show off their special training jersey, a nod to local resident Diego Maradona (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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All smiles for Daniele Bennati

All smiles for Daniele Bennati (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Rui Costa takes a selfie with his team

Rui Costa takes a selfie with his team (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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An Astana mechanic attends to Alexander Vinokourov's gold Spacialized

An Astana mechanic attends to Alexander Vinokourov's gold Spacialized (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Michael Rogers returning to racing after calling his season short in 2015

Michael Rogers returning to racing after calling his season short in 2015 (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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A closer look at Alexander Vinokourov's bike

A closer look at Alexander Vinokourov's bike (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Tricks rider Vittori Brumotti

Tricks rider Vittori Brumotti (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Tony Martin heads off to find his bike

Tony Martin heads off to find his bike (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Marcel Kittel and Tony Martin share a joke

Marcel Kittel and Tony Martin share a joke (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Tinkoff-Saxo

Tinkoff-Saxo (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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The Skydive Dubai team will no doubt liven things up

The Skydive Dubai team will no doubt liven things up (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Fabian Cancellara ready to continue his successful start to the year

Fabian Cancellara ready to continue his successful start to the year (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Movistar go training

Movistar go training (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Marcel Kittel happy in his new Etixx-QuickStep colours

Marcel Kittel happy in his new Etixx-QuickStep colours (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Sacha Modolo will be looking to contest the sprints

Sacha Modolo will be looking to contest the sprints (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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A happy Philippe Gilbert

A happy Philippe Gilbert (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Former Olympic Champion Samuel Sanchez

Former Olympic Champion Samuel Sanchez (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Philippe Gilbert gives Twitter a check before he rides

Philippe Gilbert gives Twitter a check before he rides (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)

Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep), Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) are among the riders that have descended on Dubai ahead of the start of the Dubai Tour. The trio and their respective teams shook off the jet-lag with a short training ride on Tuesday morning.

Also present was former World Champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff), who is making his return after being forced to end his season early in 2015. Rogers was wearing one of Tinkoff’s many training jerseys. This time it was not the eye-searing La Datcha kit but something a bit more modest. The predominantly blue design, with still a hint of yellow, and number 10 on the back, is a nod to Argentinean footballer Diego Maradona.

Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov’s special edition gold Specialized was also on show ahead of the training ride.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins), and Elia Viviani (Team Sky) joined them later on for the pre-race press conference.

Wiggins sat next to Cavendish and was brutally honest about his hopes. “Don’t expect too much from me, unlike everyone else at this table, I’m not hoping to do anything in this race,” he said.

“This is one of four road races I’m doing this year. It’s good just to be here with my team. There’s quite a big expat community here and everywhere you turn, there’s a British voice. It’s nice to be here with the young guys and hopefully we can get some of us up in the results. Not winning the thing but mixing it with these guys in the sprints. If I can help with them, then great.”

Cavendish is expected to clash with Kittel and Viviani in the sprints on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. He appeared to be quietly confident of his chances of winning a stage.

“I've been at the Dubai Tour for the last two years. I’ve always enjoyed it and it’s an incredible way to start the season,” he said. “Normally I have a week’s racing under my belt and so I’m not too sure of my form. I’m sprinting good after a winter on the track and the Dubai Tour lends its self to sprinters and has a majority of sprints. Only the stage to Hatta Dam is a tough one. I’m here with Dimension Data and we’ve come here with a strong team and hope to get some results.”

Kittel dismissed any suggestion that he was under pressure to win on his debut with Etixx-QuickStep.

“For me it's good to start a new season and start it all with a new team,” he said. “I’m happy with the time I spent with the guys in camps and preparing for the new season. Now it’s the moment to show my motivation and all the work done as a team pays off in this race. We’re very motivated.”

Viviani revealed the importance of winning early in the season for sprinters.

“It is really important to win a race, when I won here last year it was the best possible start for me at a new team. This year I rode the Tour de San Luis and with better condition, we hope to win again in Dubai. I’ve won in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, so maybe it’s a lucky part of the world for me.”

Both Cancellara and Gilbert are considered overall contenders for the Dubai Tour due to the uphill finish to Hatta Dam on Friday. Gilbert has already studied the weather for the week and seen it could become a factor in the race.

Cancellara confirmed that Trek-Segafredo will also ride to help Giacomo Nizzolo in the sprint finishes.

“We have a high level of expectation and so does the team. We have a strong team and we will use every opportunity to bring something home. We have Giacomo here to lead in the sprints and we will support him. The stage 3 finish is a nice chance there. It’s a nice race and let's see how it develops. I’m hoping to enjoy each day and see how it goes.”

Read a full preview of the Dubai Tour here.