I’m all for expanding the ProTour to countries like Austrailia and the U.S. I think that really makes cycling a global sport. But to take a stage of the Tour de France out of Europe? Come, on!
Cyclingnews is reporting that Dubai will host the prologue of the 2009 Tour de France. The host country, looking for places to spend its enormous wealth will construct an uphill finish. In the desert.
The ASO already has ties to the country by organizing the Tour of Qatar in Dubai. This country also is hosting the Tour of Champions race at the end of the season. These are all well and good as they are separate events that bring attention to the sport. But a stage of the Tour de France? What are you going to do, ride 7km then have a rest day while riders travel to France for the rest of the race? Maybe in 2010, they can hold the prologue in San Francisco?