The Dubai Tour will be the first of three Middle-East events Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka competes in during the month of February, with the UCI 2.HC 5-stage race set to get underway on Tuesday, 6 February.The Dubai Tour is set to be the first big sprint showdown race of the year, as nearly all the big name fast men will make their way to the United Arab Emirates this week. The Dubai Tour is also where Mark Cavendish will start his season for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, a race our Manxman enjoys, having won two stages and the overall title in 2015.
Of the 5 stages, 3 certainly are tailor made for the sprinters (Stages 1, 2 & 5) with stage 3 also being another chance for the sprinters, if they can negotiate the 3 small climbs around 30km from the finish. Stage 4 will be the main GC day, with the short steep climb up to Hatta Dam once again going to be a deciding factor. Although, the 10 bonus seconds on offer each stage has meant, in the past, some sprinters have tried to hang tough on the Hatta Dam stage to limit their losses and secure the overall victory. Both Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel have accomplished this in the past.
As Cavendish once again leads our sprint hopes at the Dubai Tour, he will be supported by his trusted leadout duo of Mark Renshaw and Bernie Eisel with Julien Vermote now also added to the train. Jay Thomson’s diesel engine will complete a very strong sprint combination for us in Dubai. Our African Team will also have our punchy Eritrean climbers, Mekseb Debesay and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier waiting to pounce should the sprinters falter on the climb to Hatta Dam.
Roger Hammond – Sport Director
It is great to be in the UAE for the Dubai Tour. I think there is a lot of excitement around the event, particularly with the number of top sprinters at the race. It’s early days in the season though, and for Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Alexander Kristoff it’s their first race of the year too. It usually takes some time for a team to find their leadout rhythm again, but all teams will be in the same boat here so it should be an exciting spectacle for the fans.