Roads were closed across Dubai Friday morning as the UAE’s biggest community cycling event took hold of the city.
The Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge welcomes a range of cyclists from juniors to professionals, with thousands taking to the UAE streets to take part.
For serious competitors, the 92km route is the pinnacle of the event, a demanding course that takes on Dubai’s roads.
And after the success of the build-up races to this year’s event, the ‘big one’ saw huge numbers sign up to take part.
In celebration of the day, we have rounded up some of the best social media posts from organisers and participants on the day.
Did you take part and capture the moment? If so, share your own thoughts on the race and best photos and videos from the day with us by reaching out on Twitter using #360fans.
I can't tell you how ecstatic I am to be awake, freezing and wearing Lycra at 4am. Because I'm not. @SpinneysDubai92— Catboy - Dubai 92 (@Catboy92) December 16, 2016
Joint organisers, Dubai Sports Council and RCS Sport, unveiled the route of the 2017 Dubai Tour on Tuesday night at the spectacular City Walk, which will host the finish of the final stage of the event.
Positioned as the start of a four-race stretch of cycling events in the Arabian Gulf region in the month of February, the Dubai Tour is slowly becoming a favourite destination for the world’s top riders, who are looking to kick-off their season in favourable weather conditions.
The Dubai showpiece will be followed by the Tour of Qatar, the Tour of Oman and finally the Abu Dhabi Tour to close out a month of racing in the Gulf.
Both Qatar and Abu Dhabi were awarded WorldTour status while Dubai and Oman are 2.HC races.
“I think all four Tours complement each other,” Dubai Tour race director Huraiz bin Huraiz told reporters last night.
“It’s the beginning of the year, the weather is just perfect for riders to come to this part of the world, enjoying a beautiful touristic city like Dubai and have a great start of the season.
“That warms them up and gets them ready for the tough races coming ahead.”
The 2017 instalment of the Dubai Tour will visit sights never showcased before during the cycling spectacle. Day two, featuring the Ras Al Khaimah Stage, will take riders from the Dubai International Marine Club all the way to Ras Al Khaimah, passing through Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain.
The following day, riders will make their way to Al Aqah in Fujairah while stage four will see them climb up the Hatta dam before concluding the Tour at City Walk in Dubai on day five.
“The 2017 Dubai Tour will be a very special edition because of the new additional competition day,” said Saeed Hareb, the secretary general of Dubai Sports Council.
“The extra stage allows us to better explore the surrounding territories. Lengthening the riders’ stay in Dubai keeps the media and fans’ interest in the event alive for longer.
“These are key to our strategy and the sponsors are rewarding this vision.”
Adding a stage and visiting six different emirates is undoubtedly a massive undertaking but Bin Huraiz feels confident his team is up to the task.
He said: “That’s what makes it interesting, if it’s the same old, same old, it’s not challenging. So we always look for a challenge and try to go to new areas. I believe the tour is getting more and more mature.”
Teams and riders taking part are yet to be announced but are expected to be revealed soon.
Of the many new features in the upcoming Dubai Tour, scheduled from January 31 to February 4, the most significant is that for the first time it’s a five-stage race.
The 2017 race will open the Middle East season with Dubai as frontrunners in a quartet of races, all in February.
Which stage are you looking forward to the most?
Stage 1: Nakheel Stage (181 KM)
On the first day, the 181km Nakheel Stage, the route will take in some typical Dubai landmarks including the Al Qudra bike path where the teams usually do their last preparations on the eve of Dubai Tour, and the Camel Track, home of the traditional races.
Then there are some of the city’s most ambitious construction projects: Jumeirah Golf Estates, Jumeirah Islands and finally, Palm Jumeirah, a world-renowned icon of Dubai, and the traditional seat of a sprint over the waterfront in front of the Atlantis “door”.
Stage 2: Ras Al Khaimah Stage (188 KM)
The following day, February 1, the Ras Al Khaimah Stage sees the peloton ride through four different Emirates: Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.
On a flat route near the coast we discover the Dubai Design District, the Sharjah University and the Al Marjan Island complex, the shaped coral archipelago of four artificial islands: Breeze, Treasure, Dream and View Island.
Stage 3: Dubai Silicon Oasis – Dubai to Al Aqah (200 KM)
The third stage, the Dubai Silicon Oasis Stage, from Dubai to Al Aqah, is another new feature for the 2017 Dubai Tour.
Last February the Fujairah seafront witnessed the victory of Marcel Kittel in a compelling sprint. In 2017, however, the peloton will continue on the Fujairah coast that overlooks the Indian Ocean until Al Aqah.
Stage 4: Westin Stage (172 KM)
The fourth stage, the Westin Stage, is a modern classic through the deserts of Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, to reach Hatta Dam.
There are two climbs up to a 11% gradient before the finale to the dam itself. The short stretch of about 200 meters has always rewarded the puncheurs but, despite the inclination from 12% to 17%, never upset the general classification.
It’s certainly an iconic stage and features the most beautiful, dramatic landscape.
Stage 5: Meraas Stage (124 KM)
The last day, the Meraas Stage, will be a spectacular parade of 124km entirely in the city of Dubai.
Along the way the peloton will celebrate the most famous monuments and landmarks: firstly the astonishing Meydan Racecourse, home of the world’s richest horse race (Dubai World Cup), then the family-oriented Mushrif Park, Al Mamzar, the historical Deira, the famous Port Rashid, and the iconic Union Flag.
The grand finale, in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa and in the heart of the spectacular brand new City Walk area, is the Dubai Tour’s last stunning sprint.