After the Winter Olympic coverage ended I went over to Universal Sports and they were broadcasting the third stage of the Tour of Dubai and this race unlike the other bike races has special meaning to me. I lived in the United Arab Emirates for six years and am familiar with the nation.
I watched with fascination as they pedaled the road from Dubai to Hatta. I was never to Hatta but the roads and terrain they were on were very much the same as the roads to Khorfakhan. I vividly recalled driving those roads and listening to Maurice Ravel, Bartok, or the Kronos Quartet, that feeling came back.
The terrain in the Emirates is not as extreme as it is in the mountains of Europe or the Americas but there is some good hill climbing to be had, but most of the country is rolling dunes and flat desert plain. I was hoping they were headed to Al-Ain and finish on the top of Jebel Hafeet, which is a real mountain and has lots of switchback on it.
WTH Tour of Dubai Speed Bump
Now, onto The Tour of Dubai Speed Bump! The end of stage three was a flat sprint, I knew it would make for great viewing. The first racers started sprinting about 1 km out or so and then about .6 KM the sprint started in earnest for all racers. As is usual lots of lead changes, teams charging, teams fading, and so on. Then about 50 meters to the finish there is a big (actually, for the UAE it wasn’t that big) ugly speed bump.
Speed bumps on the roads are quite common in the UAE, even on highways and freeways (at least when I was there, the road to Abu Dhabi had a number of them) so that the bike racers had to go over the speed bump as well as navigate the chaos of the turbulent peloton. Not good. Mind you, I have no problem with having speed bumps on the race but at the finish? Could not the race organizers have adjusted the start or the finish so the bike races did not have to go over that speed bump in the throes of the finish?
I believe this was the first big bike race held in Dubai (all the top pro-teams were there) so I hope the organizers keep in that mind when setting up next year’s race!