Dubai, 2 February 2016 – Seven representatives of the peloton at the start of the 2016 Dubai Tour spoke to the media this afternoon in the official Dubai Tour Headquarters. The high class bunch includes last year’s Dubai Tour winner, Mark Cavendish, the current World Hour Record holder Sir Bradley Wiggins, the one-day race specialists Philippe Gilbert and Fabian Cancellara, the sprinters Elia Viviani and Marcel Kittel and the enfant du pays Yousif Mirza joined H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council General Secretary. The official Start List is now available.
H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council General Secretary, said: “A new chapter of the Dubai Tour begins because we’re opening the route to other Emirates: tomorrow the stage will finish in Fujairah. It means the Dubai Tour is growing up and attracting interest at all levels, not least from the riders themselves. I’m absolutely delighted to see here Sir Bradley Wiggins, who has chosen the Dubai Tour to start this very important season which leads to the Olympic Games. Not to mention all the others here today, they are some of the most successful athletes of this era”.
Lorenzo Giorgetti, RCS Sports and Events DMCC CEO, said: “As RCS Sports and Events we’re strongly committed in improving in all areas the success of the Dubai Tour. Locally and internationally every edition represents a continuous growth of broadcasters and media following the event that translates into greater interest in sponsorship partnership investment”.
Mark Cavendish: “I’ve raced in the Dubai Tour the last two years and I’ve enjoyed it, especially with winning it overall last year. I’ve come back with not much road racing under my belt, but I know from the track that my sprint is good. I’m here racing for Dimension Data with a very strong team on the road. I just like it here in the UAE – people are great and the race has everything I like. My daughter wants to be here too, she likes the towers!”
Bradley Wiggins: “Don’t expect too much from me! Unlike everyone else, I’m not hoping to achieve anything this week. The Dubai Tour is one of the four road races I’ll be doing this year. Just being here with my team pleases me, it’s nice to be racing with those young guys. If I can be next to them in sprint finishes, if I can contribute to their experience in a learning curve along with Team Sky and the other big teams, it’ll be great. Some of them are just 19 – Team Wiggins is moving along. There are a lot of British expatriates in Dubai who look forward to seeing us. Cycling changes all the time, it’s very different from ten years ago, now we are here in the UAE for racing. My goal is definitely more of nurturing for this week!”
Philippe Gilbert: “Stage 3 to Hatta Dam is the best for me. Last year the riders came back together after the hill because we had a headwind but if it’s different this year, a breakaway can make it to the finish. For the whole race, if there’s more wind than last year, many things can happen.”
Fabian Cancellara: “I have my expectations of the Dubai Tour but also so do the whole team. We came with a strong team with the aim of bringing something home. We’ll do the sprints with Giacomo [Nizzolo], we’ll support him as much as possible, and Stage 3 will be a different one. We look from day to day, it’s a nice race and I want to enjoy every day.”
Elia Viviani: “It’s really important for the sprinters to win early in the season so I have a great memory of the Dubai Tour last year when I managed to win a stage. It’s different this time though because I come knowing that I’m already in good condition after taking part in the Tour of San Luis in Argentina. I’ve been successful at the Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour last year, maybe it’s a lucky part of the world for me here.”
Marcel Kittel: “For me, it feels good to start a new season with a new team, Etixx-Quick Step. I’ve already experienced a happy time at training camps and during the whole preparation for the new year. Here at the Dubai Tour, I want to show my motivation, and get the confirmation that the pre-season work pays off. As a team, we’re here with a lot of motivation.”
Yousif Mirza: “Firstly, I want to thank the Dubai Sport council, for putting together the Dubai Tour. Racing with the champions gives me some of the experience I need for the Olympics if I happen to ride them after getting a qualifying spot for the UAE in Rio.”
Just before the top riders’ arrival, in a separate conference, at the presence of Dr Salah El Badawi (Director of National Diabetes Central Program, Rapporteur of the National Diabetes Committee, Advisor for Publich Health – Ministry of Health), Abdullah Juma (Director of Administration Affair – Dubai Diabetes Centre) and Martijn Verschoor, Stephen Clancy and General Manager Vassili Davidenko of Team Novo Nordisk spoke about the Changing Diabetes® program in an act to inspire and empower people affected by diabetes to show that they can still pursue their dreams.