The first of a series of three races in the Middle East, the Dubai Tour runs from Tuesday, February 6 to Saturday, February 10, and attracts some of the world’s best riders.

Stage four on Friday is the most decisive day of the race, with a climb-to-the-line to Hatta Dam.

This short, sharp ascent rises at a maximum gradient of 17 per cent – not enough to create huge time gaps, but enough to have the potential to change the general classification thanks to time bonuses.

The race, which is a 2.HC event on the UCI Asia Tour features four flat stages and a slight uphill finish to Hatta Dam on stage four and favours sprinters.

>>> Dubai Tour 2018: everything you need to know about the desert race

As usual the race has attracted a strong field of sprinters including two-time overall winner Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), all of whom will be hoping to make an impact on the race’s flat stages and get their season into gear.