Dubai Tour stage four made shorter (and harder) due to risk of sandstorms

Hillier parcours for altered stage

Race organisers have shortened the route of Thursday’s stage four of the Dubai Tour due to the risk of high winds and sandstorms on the route.

Stage three on Wednesday saw the peloton battered by crosswinds which blew sand across the road, with stage winner John Degenkolb criticising the race organisers for not taking action given the conditions.

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The new profile of stage four of the Dubai Tour

However with wind speeds in some areas around Dubai expected to be double what they were on stage three, organisers have decided to forgo the section of the race that would have the peloton heading inland from Dubai, instead concentrating on two laps of a circuit around the stage finish at Hatta Dam.

That means that the stage will be 109km long instead of 172km, but also makes for a lumpy route, with the climb to the stage finish tackled three times during the day.

The change in parcours is likely to favour Degenkolb, who currently sits 10 seconds off the overall lead of Marcel Kittel, but is more at home on such terrain than his fellow German.