The inaugural Dubai Tour kicks off the next phase of the 2014 road racing season, as the first of a triptych of warm-weather stage races in the Middle East before the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman.
Race organisers RCS Sport and the Dubai Sports Council have designed a race route that suits the sprinters, with only stage three including two gradual climbs and a descent to the finish.
The racing begins on Wednesday February 5 with a 9.9km individual time in central Dubai. The start and finish is at the Dubai Trade centre, while the turning point for the out and back route is in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa –the tallest building in the world. It will offer a spectacular start to the race, shape the overall classification and award the first race leader's blue jersey.
Riders who lose time in the opening time trial will surely go on the attack here in an attempt to win the overall.
Big-name riders stand out in the 128 rider field
16 teams and a total of 128 riders will be in action in Dubai, with some of the biggest names in the sport along with the UAE national team and the Skydive Dubai Continental team.
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Thor Hushovd (BMC), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida), Andrea Guardini (Astana), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) will no doubt clash in the sprints.
Cavendish will reunite for the first time with leadout man Mark Renshaw in Dubai and provisional start lists show that Alessandro Petacchi will also be there to help Cavendish in the sprints.
Other names and jerseys to watch include world champion Rui Costa who will make his debut for Lampre-Merida in Dubai, Ryder Hesjedal, who will compete for the first time since confessing in October to doping during his early career as a mountain bike rider. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) will also be in action after their low-key debuts at the Tour de San Luis, while Filippo Pozzato will be part of the Lampre-Merida team and Luca Paolini is in the Katusha provisional roster.
The Dubai Tour will be shown live on Eurosport, Italian RAI Sport 2, and in Australia with Fox TV.
Cyclingnews will have extensive coverage of the race, with race reports, interviews and photo galleries. We will also have exclusive video content from the race.
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