Sprinters in the Dubai Women’s Tour narrowly averted disaster as the powered towards a barely-visible finish line on stage two.
Footage from the Middle East stage race showed marshals desperately trying to steer the peloton towards a bottleneck scattering of barriers, as riders were spread across the road during Tuesday's stage.
The race organisers have come in for criticism online after footage of the finish surfaced on Twitter, showing the lead riders veering across the road and narrowly avoiding a collision.
From the video, no clear finish is visible and riders are forced to swerve across the road to make it inside the barriers, which emerge around in the middle of the road during the final straight.
Luckily, no riders were brought down despite the dangerous set-up in the final but the finish raises questions about race safety in the event.
Freelance journalist Tim de Vries shared the video from the finishing sprint on stage two, saying: “Sprint in the ‘WTF category, but the Jordanian Samah Khaled will not care. Her first UCI victory.”
He added: “I realised that the sprint was coming only when the commentators were increasing their volume.”
Journalist Luaks Knöfler added: “’10 Barriers will be enough. Oh, and painting a finish line on the road is unnecessary too.’
The Dubai Women’s Tour is a four-stage race in the Emirate, which also features the Hatta Dam finish made famous by the UAE Tour.
Stage two was a 106km run from Dubai Festival City to The Springs Souk, which finished in a bunch gallop on a four-lane road. The day was won by Jordanian Samah Khaled from Team UAE.
Stage one, from Dubai Festival City to Town Square Dubai over 99km, was one by Britain’s Lucy van der Haar riding in Hitec Products colours.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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