x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Residents urged to endure inconveniences posed by Dubai Tour road closures

Saeed Hareb, chief of Dubai Tour’s organising committee, hopes the city’s residents will play their part in making the first Pro Tour cycling event in the country a success.

Former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, fourth from right, visited Dubai on Tuesday and hit the road to ride with some of the area's cycling enthusiasts. Lee Hoagland / The National
Former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, fourth from right, visited Dubai on Tuesday and hit the road to ride with some of the area's cycling enthusiasts. Lee Hoagland / The National

DUBAI // Saeed Hareb, chief of Dubai Tour’s organising committee, hopes the city’s residents will play their part in making the first Pro Tour cycling event in the country a success.

The four-day Dubai Tour which is the opening stop of the UCI’s (International Cycling Union) Asia Tour, starts on Wednesday with the 10-kilometre time trial stage in the busy downtown Dubai area.

During the next three days, the world’s top riders will race around some of Dubai’s busiest districts and landmarks, and the roads will be closed during that period.

Hareb said he understands some residents might feel a bit upset because of the road closures, but he is confident a vast majority of them will enjoy watching the sport’s biggest stars in action.

“We need their [residents’] support to make this a successful event,” Hareb said. “We have been communicating with them and, from my side, I am confident they will help us more than we expect.

“I have been to the Tour de France and to the Giro d’Italia, and I have seen how happy the residents are to be a part of the event. When the stage passes through their towns and cities, they are out on the streets celebrating. It is a holiday-like atmosphere with the kids enjoying themselves, the families enjoying themselves.

“This is the first year here, so some of the residents might feel a bit inconvenienced, but I am sure they will understand and we will show the world that Dubai is ready to host top cycling events.”

Hareb said he believes UCI’s decision to allot them a tour event already shows the cycling fraternity’s “trust” in Dubai’s ability to host major events.

Mauro Vegni, the cycling technical manager of RCS Sport, who are organising this event in partnership with Dubai Sports Council, says the professional teams are happy to start their season here.

“There was a need for a race at this time of the year for the riders to train and get ready for the season,” Vegni said. “So this event fits in perfectly.”

arizvi@thenational.ae