x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Cycling leaders will be seeing blue at Dubai Tour

Organisers not revealing prize money amount as next month's four-day event has already attracted international talent like Mark Cavendish, Rui Costa and Joaquin Rodriguez, reports Ahmed Rizvi.

Leader jersey by Aysha Al Busmait, sprinter jersey by Badr Abbas, young yersey by Saeed Hareb and intermediate sprint jersey by Hassan Habib are introduced for the Dubai Tour. Sarah Dea / The National
Leader jersey by Aysha Al Busmait, sprinter jersey by Badr Abbas, young yersey by Saeed Hareb and intermediate sprint jersey by Hassan Habib are introduced for the Dubai Tour. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI // Ranked as the second-best sporting city in the world in 2013, Dubai is gunning for the top spot and organisers of the Dubai Tour 2014 are confident their event could help them get there.

Some of cycling’s biggest stars, including the “Manx Missile” Mark Cavendish, will be in the country next month as the UAE makes its debut on the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) racing calendar with the Dubai Tour.

The four-day event, which is the opening race of the UCI’s Asia Tour and starts on February 5, will bring the likes of the reigning UCI road world champion Rui Costa, the 2013 UCI World Tour ranking topper Joaquin Rodriguez and Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara to the country to contest a race that is expected to be beamed to more than 120 countries.

“The Dubai Tour will be the greatest cycling event that Dubai has ever seen,” said Saeed Hareb, chairman of the Dubai Tour’s high committee. “It will be the first of its kind in the UAE and we will have the pleasure of hosting some of the best riders in the world in this truly international event.”

The Dubai Tour, organised by Dubai Sports Council in partnership with Italian firm RCS Sport, is the newest entrant on the city’s impressive schedule of top international sporting events, which helped it finish second, behind London, on the International Sports Event Management’s list of the world’s best sporting cities in November.

“The Dubai Sports Council, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, wants to host the best events that the world has to offer and each event has its own value,” Hareb said. “The main objective is to present the city as the focal point in the world of sports.

“We were second last year and events like these will help us rise up the rankings to first. We want to be the top destination in the world, especially in the world of sports.”

Hareb was speaking at a news conference yesterday, where the jerseys and the “Circle of Stars” winner’s trophy – designed by Italian firm Pininfarina – were revealed.

The individual general time classification leader will wear a blue jersey, which has been designed by Versace and produced by Castelli, and the individual general point classification leaders will be dressed in red.

The leader of the best young rider classification will wear a white jersey, while the special intermediate sprint classification leader will be adorned in the colours of the UAE – a jersey of white, red, green and black.

Riders from 16 teams – 11 UCI ProTeams, the top three teams of the 2013 UCI Asia Tour, the UAE national team and the Dubai SkyDive team, each with eight riders – will battle across four stages and 417.9 kilometres for the blue jersey and a generous purse, although Hareb refused to disclose the amount.

“We are not talking about money because our target is not to attract the riders through money, but to bring them here through the appeal of Dubai,” he said.

“We want them to come here and experience our great country. So the prize money will not be revealed until we hand it out on the final day.”

arizvi@thenational.ae

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