Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali will start 2015 season at the Dubai Tour. Photos by Luca Bettini

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was guest of honour at the 2015 Dubai Tour route presentation at the Westin Mina Seyahi Hotel on Monday.

The 2015 edition of the United Arab Emirates race will benefit from an elevation in its UCI status, from 2.1 to 2.HC, with more WorldTour teams able to participate. Tour de France champion Nibali is expected to kick off his 2015 season at the four-day race, which runs from February 4-7.

“I’m very happy to be here at the presentation of this very beautiful race,” said Nibali. “I’m in Dubai for few days on holiday and I can say I really like the city, a lot of tourist attractions, delicious food and amazing weather. I enjoyed myself riding my bike on the desert cycle path too, which is really fantastic.

“I’m convinced that Dubai represents a great opportunity for cycling and vice versa. Dubai Tour, which I raced last year too, will be my seasonal debut with my team in 2015. The course is very interesting and the third stage, with the final steep climb, it’s something very nice, very hard to find in these surroundings.”

Last year’s inaugural Dubai Tour was won by Taylor Phinney (BMC) with Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) winning all three sprint stages.

Dubai Tour 2015

Stage 1 – February 4 – Union Flag Stage (DIMC-Union Flag House), 145km
Stage 2 – February 5 – Palm Stage (DIMC-Palm Jumeirah), 185km
Stage 3 – February 6 – Desert Stage (DIMC-Hatta Dam), 205km
Stage 4 – February 7 – Burj Stage (DIMC-Burj Plaza), 128km

More on the Dubai Tour