Dubai plans to host top cycling race in 2014

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(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Dubai has announced it will host an international cycling race in 2014 after unveiling a new 67km cycling route in the city.

The Dubai Sports Council said the emirate will host the race as part of a long-term plan to help develop cycling in the UAE.

The Dubai Tour plan was revealed during the official opening of the Dubai Cycling Course - a 67km bike circuit and facility on Al Qudra Road.

Neighbours Qatar and Oman have developed their own high-profile tour races in recent years and now Dubai wants to host an event that will be "a force" within the sport.

The final date and the length of the race have still to be decided.

Mattar Al Tayer, chairman and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said the course was part of a comprehensive bicycle master plan, which covers all areas of Dubai and integrates dedicated cycling lanes with Metro stations.

The new facility features shops for renting bikes, in addition to a fully-equipped clinic.

The track, he said, would appeal to cyclists offering amateurs and professionals a safe environment to train.

In September, it was announced that Qatar had won the right to stage another major global sporting event after being picked to host the 2016 World Road Cycling Championships.

The International Cycling Union said the Gulf state beat a rival bid by Norway to hold the event.

"Dubai always does things in the best manner possible and I assure you that the Dubai Tour will be a force. It will be something greater than what's been seen anywhere else in the world," Rashid Al-Kamali, the head of marketing at the Dubai Sports Council said in comments published by cyclingnews.com.

"This is to show that we're serious about cycling. Our objective is to create champions here in the UAE and we'd like to create the next Alberto Contador, Ryder Hesjedal or Vincenzo Nibali out of the UAE. That's our long term goal."

Alberto Contador, Ryder Hesjedal, Vincenzo Nibali and Tony Martin all attended the launch event.

Contador said of the Dubai Tour in 2014: "I think it'll be a beautiful race. They could include a team time trial, an individual time trial and of course for the sprinters there are lots of roads."

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