A line up full of stars will take to the start of the 2015 Dubai Tour, the race, organised by the Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sport and running from 4th-7th February.
Some of the greatest cycling champions in the world are on the official entry list, including: Vincenzo Nibali, reigning Tour de France champion and former winner of the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, who is having is seasonal debut at the Dubai Tour; Mark Cavendish, former UCI Road World Champion and winner of 43 Grand Tour stages; Alejandro Valverde, winner of the 2014 UCI WorldTour ranking; Tony Martin, three times UCI Time Trial World Champion; Joaquim Rodríguez, two times winner of Il Lombardia; Philippe Gilbert, former UCI Road World Champion and John Degenkolb, 10-time winner of Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España stages amongst others.
As a class 2.HC race, 16 teams (including 10 WorldTour teams) of 8 riders will race it:
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA) – Bakelandts, Van Summeren
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ) – Nibali, Boom
BARDIANI CSF (ITA) – Battaglin, Pirazzi
BMC RACING TEAM (USA) – Gilbert, Zabel
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL) – Bole, Szmyd
ETIXX–QUICK STEP (BEL) – Cavendish, Martin
LAMPRE–MERIDA (ITA) – Pozzato, Xu
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP) – Valverde, Malori
SKYDIVE DUBAI PRO CYCLING TEAM (UAE) – Mancebo, Gusev
TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN (GER) – Degenkolb, Mezgec
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS) – Rodriguez, Porsev
TEAM NOVO NORDISK (USA) – Megias, Verschoor
TEAM SKY (GBR) – Thomas, Swift
TINKOFF-SAXO (RUS) – Valgren, Kiserlovski
UAE NATIONAL SELECTION - Badr Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Alhammadi, Mohammed Yousef Ahmed Abdulla
UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM (USA) – Brajkovic and Canola
The inaugural Dubai tour took place in 2014, and has established itself on the international cycling calendar, with the UCI upgrading it from a 2.1 to 2.HC class race for its second running. Re-classing the race to the UCI’s second highest category allows a greater number of the elite UCI WorldTeams to race at the event.
It also allows for a longer, more exciting race, with the total distance raced increasing by 60% to 660km. In this second edition of the race no time trial stage will be held, whilst a hill-climb finish has been added.
The four stages will be:
Stage 1 – The Westin Dubai Stage (Dubai - Dubai) 145km – sprint stage
Stage 2 – Nakheel Stage (Dubai - Jumeirah Palm) 187km – sprint stage
Stage 3 – Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority Stage (Dubai-Hatta) 205km – with hill-climb finish
Stage 4 – The Burj Stage (Dubai - Burj Khalifa) 123km – sprint stage
Mark Cavendish, commenting on the forthcoming Dubai Tour, says: “I'm looking forward to riding Dubai Tour for a second straight year. It's well organized and it is an important early season race to prepare our leadout train. We'll be going with Mark Renshaw and also Fabio Sabatini, who is a new part of our leadout. It will be the first time the three of us work together in a competition.”
“I worked really well with Sabatini in the first race of the season. He fits in really well. I think he will be great to position Renshaw as the final leadout man, and to also keep the train smooth. We'll be looking for wins at this race just as we did at Tour de San Luis, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do and further fine tuning our lead out.”
Vincenzo Nibali said in November at the Dubai Tour 2015 presentation: “I’m convinced that Dubai represents a great opportunity for cycling and vice versa. Dubai Tour, which I raced last year too, will be my seasonal debut in 2015. The course is very interesting and the third stage, with the final steep climb, it’s something very nice, [and] very hard to find in these surroundings.”
PHOTO CREDIT ANSA / DUBAI TOUR