Dubai Tour will boast world’s finest cyclists

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Gala event: The 2015 route was unveiled at a special launch in Dubai yesterday.

Dubai Tour organisers revealed they have received official interest from Team Sky to take part in next year’s second edition which they promised will be bigger and better at the unveiling of the new route yesterday at Westin Mina Seyahi.

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Team Sky was absent from the star-studded inaugural edition of the race last February but it looks like Chris Froome and Co. could make the trip to Dubai next year (from February 4-7), where they would face-off against reigning Tour de France champion Vincen­zo Nibali, who was present at the unveiling yesterday.

Organisers, Italian company RCS Sport and the Dubai Sports Council, announced changes to the structure of the race which is highlighted by the removal of the individual time trial – the opening stage in 2014 – and replacing it with a more mountainous stage that will include a 17 per cent climb in Hatta.

“We will have better stages, we won’t have an individual time trial so riders like Vincenzo Nibali and other more complete riders can have a chance to win the race,” said Lorenzo Giorgetti, the CEO of RCS Sports and Events JLT.

Giorgetti added that the race will be 150km longer than it was in year one, which will make it more competitive while also showcas­ing more of Dubai to the rest of the world.

The second edition received a boost earlier when it was announced that it was upgraded from a 2.1 categorisation to 2.HC – the second-highest category – and Giorgetti explains that has generated further interest from the world’s best teams.

“We have already achieved a higher UCI ranking which means that the riders who will take part will gain more points in the general classification. So this is an oppor­tunity for the race itself to become more important for the riders, the teams and for the media,” said the Italian.

“And of course this will generate more interest and see better teams taking part.

“This is the period of the year where all riders and teams are planning their next season but we have already got interest from the Sky Team to come here and prob­ably we will have someone who is the strongest rider in the world announcing that he will do his best to be here.” Nibali, a winner of all three Grand Tours of Spain, Italy and France, is a rider who has already announced his commit­ment to the Dubai Tour as he and his Astana Team will kick-off their 2015 season here in the Emir­ates.

Alberto Contador is also believed to be amongst the riders taking part and Nibali said he is looking for­ward to renewing his rivalry with the Spaniard in the new season.

“The first impression last year was that it was great but I believe that next year it’s going to be even greater,” Nibali said of the Dubai Tour.

“I’m impressed at how quick it has grown.

“The second edition will have myself as well as Alberto Contador, so the challenge will begin there, which is very good for the Emir­ates because the people can see the best riders in the world competing here.” 

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