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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Dubai Tour 2015: Extended route, Paul Smith jerseys and other new features

The 2015 Dubai Tour will introduce several new features. Gary Meenaghan finds out what they are.
US cyclist Tyler Farrar rides past the Burj Khalifa during the 2014 Dubai Tour. Karim Sahib/AFP
US cyclist Tyler Farrar rides past the Burj Khalifa during the 2014 Dubai Tour. Karim Sahib/AFP

The emirate’s premier cycling competition, from February 4-7, will be longer by 200 kilometres and will have several new features.

Getting shirty

The four jerseys that will be used in next week’s Dubai Tour were unveiled on Tuesday in Deira. Designed by Paul Smith, they will signify the overall winner (blue), the fastest sprinter (red), the best young rider (white) and the highest intermediate sprint points scorer (red, white, green and black).

The route

Organisers have extended Dubai Tour’s four stages, increasing the event from 500 kilometres to 700km. All four stages will start at Dubai International Marine Club, with stages running along Jumeirah Beach Road and Umm Suqeim Road among others and crossing major highways, including Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road. Saeed Hareb, the secretary general of Dubai Sports Council, said he expects no issues. “No road will be closed for any more than 30 minutes,” he said.

The strategy

Taking place from February 4-7, Dubai Tour will again head from the city towards the southern Omani border during Stage 3, so the cyclists can get a more diverse view of the emirate. “Last year they [visitors] got to discover Hatta. That is part of the strategy. Within another couple of years, we want to become no less than the Giro d’Italia,” Hareb said.

Gran Fondo

The emirate has also been confirmed as a host city on the UCI World Cycling Tour. The Dubai Gran Fondo will be held on March 20 and marks the first time a UCI World Championship event has been held in the Middle East. Dubai Tour officials insisted it is a positive. “It is a totally different event as Gran Fondo is for amateurs and Dubai Tour is for professionals,” said Lorenzo Giorgetti, chief executive of RCS Sports. “But it will attract more people to Dubai and more people to cycling.”

Commitment

Peter Baltussen, the chief executive of title sponsor Commercial Bank of Dubai, refused to be drawn on his company’s financial investment, but he said: “What’s relevant is that it is a three-year deal and we want to see it grow into one of the leading cycling events in the world.”

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