Omega Pharma-QuickStep Ready for Dubai Tour
Former World Champion Mark Cavendish has been reunited with his favorite leadout man Mark Renshaw before the start of the 2014 season. Looking to recreate their highly effective cooperation known from former seasons, the duo is hoping to gain valuable practice from sprints in the Dubai Tour after having practiced at the team's training camps in Calpe, Spain.
The first edition of the Dubai Tour is part of the UCI Asia Tour and will take place from February 5 to February 8. The race features 16 teams and 128 participants. The riders will compete in a ten kilometer prologue, followed by three flat stages.
"We are quite excited to go to the Dubai Tour for the first time," Danish Sport Director Brian Holm explained. "A few of our riders like Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin have already been in Dubai - they kind of know the city and the country and are very motivated to go there."
"For Mark (Cavendish), he will have his first chance to rely on both Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw in his leadout train. Cavendish and Renshaw have a lot of history and, combined with a veteran like Petacchi, we're hoping to have a fair chance of success in a race with so many sprint opportunities."
The prologue will offer a welcome opportunity for time trial world champion Tony Martin to fine-tune his time trial engine before the European part of the 2014 season takes off.
"I've come here to try to win this race, although it isn't going to be simple. The crosswinds could play a decisive role, and first, I'll have to ride a really good prologue," Martin told RoadCycling.com.
"As for Tony (Martin), he had a special experience last year when he actually competed against a horse in an exhibition, which was a really nice introduction of cycling to the people of Dubai. Now he can return and also show Dubai how strong he is against other riders," Holm commented.
"This will be his first chance to time trial since wrapping up an incredible 2013 season, which included his third straight UCI World Individual Time Trial Championship. I am sure he is really focused and wants to take that momentum into his debut in Dubai, even if the first stage is a prologue and not a time trial as such. He is ready and it will be close. Overall the team is happy to go there, as we can be competitive in every situation."
Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep roster for Dubai Tour 2014:
Tony Martin (GER), Mark Cavendish (GBR), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Martin Velits (SVK), Nikolas Maes (BEL), Wout Poels (NED), Julien Vermote (BEL)