New plans were unveiled at a roadshow at Dubai's City Walk on Monday.
Skydive Dubai the new starting point as Dubai Tour reveals 2018 route and jerseys
Skydive Dubai will host the start of the 2018 Dubai Tour after organisers unveiled the new route and jerseys at the Hub Zero Meraas City Walk on Monday.
Taking place on February 6-10, the Dubai Tour enters its fifth edition, and while Saeed Hareb, general secretary of Dubai Sports Council, has said the "formula will be the same", there are a few adjustments to past tours.
Firstly, the starting point for all five stages will be at Skydive Dubai, located in the Mina Seyahi area between Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence. Previous editions of the Dubai Tour started up the road at the Dubai International Marine Club. The Dubai Tour fan village will therefore be moved to Skydive Dubai.
The 2018 race will also be marginally shorter than the 2017 edition, totalling 851 kilometres - 14km less than this year, although the 177km Stage 4 was cancelled due to bad weather.
The opening Nakheel stage covers 167km from Skydive Dubai to the Palm Jumeirah.
The second stage will run from Skydive Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah covering a distance of 190km, followed by the 190km Fujairah stage, the 172km Dubai Municipality stage to Hatta Dam and the 132km Meraas stage concluding at the City Walk.
“We have seen the Tour event grow every passing year and in four editions this cycling event has increased in all the aspects,” Hareb said.
“We added a race day, we visited the surrounding Emirates, we increased the stages’ length and we can see the results on our roll of honour - names like Taylor Phinney, Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel certify our results, at least in sporting terms.”
According to Hareb, the last day is a spectacular parade entirely in the city of Dubai.
“Along the way the peloton will celebrate Dubai’s best loved monuments and landmarks,” he said.
“Just like last year the grand finale is set to take place in Al Mustaqbal Street at City Walk district with the fascinating Dubai skyline as a backdrop."
Also unveiled a Monday's roadshow were the four new race jerseys - the blue general classification, the red general points classification, the white young classification, and the UAE flag-design for immediate sprint classification.
Germany's Kittel is the two-time defending champion of the general classification, with the 2015 tour won by Britain's Cavendish and the inaugural event won by American Phinney.
Hareb also highlighted the expanding status the Dubai Tour has enjoyed since its launch in 2014 and is expecting the 2018 race to be its biggest yet.
"Last year the Dubai Tour was broadcast in 182 countries all over the world. That means a 17 per cent increase compared to 2016 and 64 per cent to 2015," he said.
“Not to mention the media. Every edition more media outlets are accredited, that means thousands of online and printed articles. I would like to thank all the sponsors for their support and rewards along with all the governmental authorities.”
Huraiz bin Huraiz, director of Dubai Tour, added: “We are connecting six Emirates and we always try to emphasis on new areas in every passing year by going to both the new and old parts of Dubai.
“We are cycling through the cities of Hatta, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah and Fujairah.”