Tom Bushell talks sport

Abu Dhabi’s hopes for the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race

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I, for one, love a sail. And a kayak: I love being on the water. Of course, it’s all well and good in the fairly calm waters of the Gulf, but it’s a little different in the Antarctic Ocean. It’s that mass of water – as well as every other ocean in the world – that the Volvo Ocean Race teams will encounter when they set sail from Alicante in Spain in 2014. The race is often referred to as the Formula One of sailing, and it’s the most demanding, dramatic and dangerous boat race there is. The offshore yacht race lasts about nine months and happens every three years.

The last race finished in Galway in 2012, with the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team taking part for the first time. Skippered by two-time Olympic medalist Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi plotted their way around the world reasonably well. Finishing fifth overall, the team won the transatlantic leg from Miami to Lisbon, and triumphed in three in-port races, in Alicante, Miami and their home port, Abu Dhabi.

It’s great news that the team will return for the 2014 race, and Walker will be back to lead them. I’ve even applied to be on-board in the media manager’s role. I’m aware it will probably be rougher than the waves I’ve experienced at Sunset Beach, but I’ll never be short of a story at a party.

So I’ve applied to sail around the world, yet my bike is sitting in my apartment wondering when it will next be used. There’s no doubt that cycling in Dubai is on the rise. The annual Cycle Challenge has grown over the past three years and, with the news that Dubai will stage a pro cycling tour in 2014, many cyclists are expected to hit the streets.

So what do the pros think? Tour de France 2007 and 2009 winner Alberto Contador has been in Dubai after a second-place finish at the Tour of Oman, and he can’t wait to ride here, claiming it’s ‘perfect’ for a professional event. The UAE offers both flat areas and moutains: ideal for the four elements to a tour (an individual and team time trial, plus a flat and mountain stage). Now perhaps I could handle some of that flat terrain…
Tom Bushell hosts Sport On 7 on City 7 TV (Mon 8pm) and is Arabian Radio Network’s head of sport.

One more thing...
Caroline Wozniacki may have been concentrating on her tennis last week, but she was also enjoying Wild Wadi. She tweeted boyfriend Rory McIlroy: ‘Hey @McIlroyRory I did the Jumeirah Sceirah! So much fun!’ The two sports stars know Dubai well, with major tournaments in both golf and tennis staged in the UAE. Maybe they can enter the next ‘belly flopping’ mixed doubles championships.

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