The Dubai Tour can be at the same level as the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, according to the event’s organisers at the unveiling of the second edition’s jerseys, designed by renowned British designer Paul Smith, in Dubai today.
Speaking at the Commercial Bank of Dubai in Deira, chairman of the organising committee for Dubai Tour, H.E. Saeed Hareb, stated his desire to make the race the biggest in the world.
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Gearing up for the action, Hareb claimed that this year’s course will be longer and take in more difficult routes in order to best challenge the competitors.
“Our vision is for us to compete with the best cycling events in the world. We want to be on the same level of the likes of Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, and maybe even become better than them,” said Hareb.
“We have learned a lot from the first edition, the experience was vital to make us go further. I promise you that the second edition is a much better improvement than the first.
“For this edition the levels of the race are much longer and more roads will be ready for the racers to compete.”
This year’s race, organised by Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sport, will be held from 4th to 7th of February and feature some of the biggest names in cycling.
The likes of powerhouses Team Sky and Lampre-Merida will be joined by a UAE national team and the Emirates’ Skydive Dubai team in a field of 16, made up of 128 riders from around the world.
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“We are so proud of sponsoring such a great event,” said CEO of Commercial Bank of Dubai, Peter Baltussen.
“We are looking forward to a highly successful event that will continue to prosper each year.
“We want to make cycling more popular among the sports fanatics. We want the young generation to embrace this sport and we want to give them the chance to take part in it.”
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The inaugural Dubai Tour featured superstars Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Marcell Kittel and was won by American Taylor Phinney of UCI ProTeam BMC Racing Team.
Taking in 2 sprint, 1 mountain, 1 time trial and 6 intermediate sprint stages, the Dubai Tour will see cyclists compete before some of the most iconic landmarks in the city.
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has said he would cheat again if faced with the decision he made to dope in 1995, but believes the time has come for him to be forgiven.
Armstrong, 43, was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned from all sport for life by the United States Anti-
Doping Agency (USADA) in 2012. After years of aggressively denying doping, he confessed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.
In a new interview with the BBC, the American, who took the yellow jersey every year from 1999 to 2005, said that while he believes it is possible to win cleanly today, that was not an option during the mid-1990s.
“If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t think you have to,” he said. “If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again.”
Armstrong, who said he was clean when he came out of retirement in 2009 and 2010 – contrary to USADA’s report, added: “When I made the decision, when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was abad decision and an imperfect time.
“But it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport, I saw its growth.”
Armstrong said he saw Trek Bicycles, his supplier, increase sales from $100million (Dh367m)to $1billion (Dh3.6b) as his story
as a cancer survivor won cycling new fans, while his charity foundation Livestrong was able to raise $500million.
“Do we want to take it away?” he said. “I don’t think anybody says ‘yes’.”
Armstrong believes he has been made to pay a heavy personal price for an offence he says was committed by many, and is hoping for a reduction in his ban after twice speaking with the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). He also believes his seven Tour titles should be restored.
“I think there has to be a winner, I’m just saying that as a fan,” he said. “There’s a huge block in World War One with no winners, and there’s another block in World War Two, and then it seems like there’s another world war.
“I don’t think history is stupid, history rectifies a lot of things. If you ask me what happens in 50 years, I don’t think it sits empty… I feel like I won those Tours.”
A leading Dubai hotel is ordering in more than 500kg of fruit and 200kg of pasta to fuel some of the world’s top cyclists when they compete in The Dubai Tour event.
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The Westin’s chefs will be in for a busy time from 4th– 7thFebruary when 240 competitors, making up 16 cycling teams will descend on the hotel for the duration of the competition.
Organisers anticipate that over 5000 litres of water will be drunk, 500kg of fruit eaten and 200kg of pasta consumed. It’s well needed fuel for the cyclists who in the four stages of the Dubai Tour will burn close to five million calories in total.
As well as catering for each rider during the Dubai Tour, the Westin gives competitors the perfect location for competitors to get their rest. On average, each cyclist will sleep for 60 hours during the four-stage 663km race. And with a sprinter capable of producing 1,400 watts of power heading towards the finish line, enough power to power your toaster, rest is vital.
Not only is The Westin playing host to the Dubai Tour competitors, but also sponsoring Stage One which runs from the Dubai International Marine Club to the Union House Flag, covering a total of 145km around Dubai.
General Manager, Tolga Lacin said: “Everything we do at the Westin is designed to help our guests feel their best, through our ‘Westin Wellness’ initiative, so we are really looking forward to having these amazing athletes staying with us as they get ready to compete.
“Getting rest and plenty of sleep is key for them but the role of what they eat and drink is even more important, so we have been meticulously planning what we are giving them when they are here.
“Our chefs will be working even harder than usual to cater for the cyclists and there are specially designed menus and packed lunches for all those competing, including some of our specially created SuperFoodsRxTMdishes – packed with nutrients and energy to help the competitors be at their best throughout the tour
“The Dubai Tour is a fantastic addition to the city’s sporting calendar and The Westin is delighted to be part of it this year.”
The Dubai Tour is organized by The Dubai Sports Council.