Nibali, Costa say Dubai Tour is more for sprinters but they will search for opportunities for success
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nibali, Costa say Dubai Tour is more for sprinters but they will search for opportunities for success

by VeloNation Press at 6:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Cavendish part of ‘strong and motivated’ Omega Pharma Quick Step team

Vincenzo NibaliWith the Dubai Tour starting tomorrow, both 2013 Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and the current world champion Rui Costa (Lampre Merida) have conceded that the race is oriented more towards sprinters and time trialists, but have each vowed to try to get something from the race.

Nibali competed in the Tour de San Luis and is now about to line out in his second race of the season. While the event is a new one on the calendar, he has been impressed by what he has seen thus far.

“Dubai is a new territory for professional cycling. Sagan is here, Cancellara is here: the big names,” he said. “So from day one, the Dubai Tour looks like it is a great success.”

He crashed in San Luis but has recovered from that and is now ready to dig in. “I have had a few days rest at home after an small accident I had in Argentina. I'm here looking for rhythm. There is a time trial, where I will try to do well, and otherwise it is a race for sprinters. We have two in Guarnieri and Guardini.”

Costa is making his 2014 race debut and wants to do his rainbow jersey justice. Although he’d prefer a tougher parcours, he aims to grab whatever opportunities he can.

“This is my first time in Dubai. I really wanted to get to know the place. It is very different to what I'm used to. The race doesn't really suit my characteristics, but I'll take any opportunity that arises.”

One rider who won’t complain about the flat parcours is Mark Cavendish. His Omega Pharma Quick Step team is one which could win the race outright, and could also take more than one stage. As has been the case in the Tour of Qatar in the past, the Belgian squad will be highly focussed on success.

“It's exciting to have Mark Renshaw and Alessandro Petacchi riding for me. Together with Tony Martin, they make a formidable train,” said Cavendish. “Hopefully Tony Martin will win the time trial, then there should be three sprint stages. With a strong and motivated team, we'll be targeting all of them.”

The Dubai Tour begins tomorrow with the so-called Down Town stage, that ten kilometre time trial. Stage two is entitled the Sport Stage, runs 122 kilometres, and passes some of the best-known sports buildings in Dubai such as the Hippodrome, the Olympic pool, the Al Qudra cycling path, the Autodrome and the Golf Club.

The following day’s Nature Stage is the longest at 162 kilometres. It extends through the desert and finishes in Hatta. The last day of racing brings a 124 kilometre Old Dubai Stage, beginning at the Dubai World Trade Centre, moving through the old part of the city and passing the famous Burj Al Arab building and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world.


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