Dubai Tour future bright: Saeed Hareb

Dubai Tour future bright: Saeed Hareb

DSC secretary general calls for more experience and patience

By Alex Leach (senior Reporter)

Published: Mon 9 Feb 2015, 12:27 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:45 PM

The pack of riders in action during the second day of the Dubai Tour. — KT photo by Shihab

Dubai — Saeed Hareb believes the Dubai Tour could grow exponentially to be twice or thrice its current four-stage size in the fullness of time.

Following the successful second staging of the race here in the emirate last week, questions to the event organisers and its star names soon turned to how the tour could be improved in the years to come.

Hareb, the secretary general of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), is in no doubt the race has a bright and prosperous future ahead, but he warns it will take more experience and patience for that to ultimately come to fruition.

“Our challenge is to be one of the top races in the world,” Hareb said. “There is no finish line in terms of what is possible and the dream overall. If we can organise four stages, it’s not difficult to do so with more than 12.

“We need to have more experience and — with regards to our people here — we just need time to be in a position whereby they are ready to take more than 10 or 12 stages.”

Italian broadcaster RSC Sport’s Lorenzo Giorgetti also talked up the possibility of the Dubai Tour forming part of the UCI World Tour programme from 2017 onwards.

Giorgetti explained that the criteria for inclusion in such a global circuit had already been ratified and, if it were all to be laid out in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, the “Dubai Tour has all the right credentials for a World Tour race.”

He added: “Cycling is growing in this country tremendously, but what’s more important is that it’s doing so in a completely new manner.

“It’s very high positioned and the image of this event has nothing to do with the image of many other international events, which have a much longer history.

“You only have to see the number of bike shops located on Shaikh Zayed Road and there are so many amateur races here now. That’s proof that cycling is growing as a new sport here in the UAE.”

One person who would seemingly like to see that momentum continue is the new Dubai Tour champion, Etixx-Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish, who has been involved with this embryonic race since its inaugural edition last year.

“The globalisation of cycling is extremely important for the growth of the sport,” the ‘Manx Missile’, 29, said.

“It has to be done right though and races like this one in Dubai definitely do that. Short tours like this one have been built upon and grown from one year to the next.

“It has already stepped up a level and it’s definitely a move in the right direction in countries where cycling is becoming popular. It’s a big step forward and I think it’s what cycling needs.”

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