Formed to promote cycling in the United Arab Emirates, Sky Dive Dubai may be a new team for this season but there is a certain amount of pressure on them to perform on their debut in their home country.
And the small but experienced squad showed some early promise in the first road stage of the inaugural Dubai Tour – getting a man in the break before sealing a top-ten finish in the chaotic bunch sprint.
Spanish veteran Francisco Mancebo, now 37, is clearly keen to see out the twilight years of his career in style having formed part of the day’s break and stayed out for all but the final 10.5km of the race – plenty of exposure for the team and their Dubai-based sponsors, and a job well done.
But there was more to come too, as ex-Cannondale man Lucas Haedo bagged eighth place in the sprint – beating Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) to a place in the top ten.
The Dubai Tour is proving to be a slow burner in terms of crowd numbers, but a successful home team could help drive cycling in the Emirates. So far, so good.