The route and jerseys of the fifth edition of the Dubai Tour were unveiled at City Walk in the northern emirate on Monday, with the world’s best cyclists expected to descend on the UAE from February 6-10, 2018.
The formula will be the same as last year: five stages totaling 851km and traversing six of the nation’s seven emirates.
Star sprinter Marcel Kittel has won the last two titles in Dubai, in 2016 and 2017, and next year’s route will once again favour the sprinters.
The route will take riders through Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain, with four flat stages and one summit finish atop the Hatta dam.
The race village and headquarters will be moved from the Dubai International Marine Club to the nearby Skydive Dubai just down the road.
“In just four editions the Dubai Tour increased in all the aspects. 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,” said Saeed Hareb, the secretary general of Dubai Sports Council.
“But that’s not all: last year the Dubai Tour was broadcasted in 182 countries all over the world. That means a +17 per cent increase compared to 2016 and +64 per cent to 2015. Not to mention the media: every edition more and more media outlets are accredited on stage; that means few thousand of online and printed articles. I would like to thank all the sponsors for their support and rewards along with all the governmental authorities.”
Here’s a look at the five stages…
STAGE 1: NAKHEEL STAGE
Tuesday, February 6 – Skydive Dubai-Palm Jumeirah (167km)
On the first day the route will take the riders through some of the city’s most ambitious construction projects: Motor City, the Global Village and the Hamdan Sport Complex. They will then pass by Al Qudra Cycle Path, where most riders do their final preparations for the Dubai Tour before, followed by Al Maktoum International Airport. The peloton will also pass by Dubai South, where the Dubai Expo will be held in 2020. The cyclists will then whizz past some Dubai landmarks such as the commercial port and business hub of Jebel Ali, Jumeirah Islands and finally, Palm Jumeirah – which will host the now well-established sprint in front of the Atlantis arch.
STAGE 2: RAS AL KHAIMAH STAGE
Wednesday, February 7 – Skydive Dubai-Ras Al Khaimah (190km)
The following day, the stage sees the peloton ride through four different Emirates: Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. During the first part the cyclists will ride through Dubai Design District. Then, on a flat route near the coast we discover Ajman and the Umm Al Quwain territory, famous both as archaeological sites and for the amazing islands that lie to the east of the mainland peninsula. After 190km we expect to see another sprint on the Al Quawasim Corniche Road.
STAGE 3: FUJAIRAH STAGE
Thursday, February 8 – Skydive Dubai-Fujairah (190km)
This stage, from Dubai to Fujairah is similar to 2016’s opening stage, won by Marcel Kittel after a compelling sprint. In 2018, however, the peloton will not ride directly to Fujairah, passing first through the town of Kalba (Sharjah’s exclave), where there is an Intermediate sprint. Then, on a flat route that overlooks the Indian Ocean, we reach the finish on the Fujairah’s Corniche Road.
STAGE 4: DUBAI MUNICIPALITY STAGE
Friday, February 9 – Skydive Dubai-Hatta Dam (172km)
It’s exactly the same stage that last year was cancelled due to bad weather; a route through the deserts of Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, to reach Hatta Dam. Before the dam there are two climbs up to an 11 per cent gradient, then the finale to the dam itself with a short stretch of about 200 metres featuring an inclination from 12 per cent to 17 per cent. This iconic stage, normally celebrated for the beautiful landscape and usually won by a puncheur, never upset the general classification.
STAGE 5: MERAAS STAGE
Saturday, February 10 – Skydive Dubai-City Walk (132km)
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: firstly, the astonishing Meydan Racecourse, home of the world’s richest horse race — the Dubai World Cup — then the family-oriented Mushrif Park, Al Mamzar, the historical Deira, the famous Port Rashid, and the iconic Union Flag. 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.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Dubai Tour jerseys will be provided by one of the cycling industry’s leading brands, Castelli. The four different jerseys are made using a high-tech fabric supplied by SITIP that is both UV-protective and allows for a very rapid rate of heat dissipation. There are four colours, one for each classification, starting with the most prestigious, the blue for the leader of the general classification.
General Classification: worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the leader of the general classification. In the previous editions it has been won by six different riders: Marcel Kittel (5 times), Taylor Phinney (3), Mark Cavendish (2), Giacomo Nizzolo, Elia Viviani and John Degenkolb.
Sponsor: Commercial Bank of Dubai
Dr. Bernd van Linder, CBD Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very pleased to again play a part in this year’s Dubai Tour 2018 which has become one of the world’s most iconic and popular cycling event. Dubai Tour beautifully aligns with CBD’s corporate social responsibility objectives of promoting a healthy lifestyle. This event contributes significantly to elevating the UAE’s sports sector and embodies the vision of the government to develop and promote sports in the UAE. We have had a successful partnership with Dubai Sports Council since 2014 and we are pleased to be part of the Dubai Tour 2018’s success”.
Points Classification: worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the fastest sprinter, who has obtained the best positions in each stage and intermediate sprints. Since 2014, the red jersey has been won by only five riders: Marcel Kittel (5 times), Mark Cavendish (3), Taylor Phinney (2), Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani.
Khalid Bel Jaflah, Divisional Vice President Commercial Operations, UAE and Oman said: “The Dubai Tour has become a premier cycling challenge that attracts global talent and Emirates is proud to have been a part of it from the very beginning. Emirates is committed to supporting Dubai as a world-class sporting destination that hosts globally recognized events like the Dubai Tour.”
Young Rider Classification: Worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the best U25 young rider in the overall classification, the name to watch out for in the future. In previous years this jersey was won by Dylan Groenewegen (4 times), Taylor Phinney (3), Soufiane Haddi (3), Paolo Simion (2) and Mic Valgren Andersen.
Sponsor: RTA (Roads and Transport Authority)
UAE FLAG JERSEY
Intermediate Sprint Classification: worn daily, starting from stage 2, by the rider who gained more Intermediate Sprint Points than any other rider. Eight riders have been leaders of this classification: Nicola Boem (4 times), Taylor Phinney (2), Marcin Bialoblocki, Alessandro Bazzana, Davide Frattini, Soufiane Haddi, Jakobus Willem Smit and Ben Swift.
Sponsor: DHA (Dubai Health Authority)
His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “DHA is proud to support Dubai Tour which has seen a year-on-year growth in its scale and popularity. At the DHA, we are keen to work with governmental and private partners to educate the community on the benefits of a healthy eating and regular physical activity and to encourage them to adopt healthier lifestyles. Events such as the Dubai Tour reinforce the importance of fitness and sports in the community and encourage the younger generation to take on sports. We are proud to support Dubai Tour and are pleased to see its growth.”