Cold on the outside, warm on the inside

February has provided many UK-based cyclists with their first sightings of snow this winter. It's meant any training programme has to include either a turbo or rollers session to keep us safely ticking over. The more privileged among us may have imitated the pros and jetted off to the warmer climates of Majorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Girona or Andalusia.

But for the rest of us the only real positive factor about this time of year is the fact that the days are slowly but surely starting to lengthen.

Coming hot on the heels of the Tour Down Under at the start of the pro racing season, the Dubai Tour is one of the latest additions to UCI calendar. It ran for the first time last year and although it might sound more like a golf event than a bike race, this four-day tour neatly slots into the warmer climate early season events that attract the pros.

We've just come back from London cycle café Look Mum No Hands having witnessed the penultimate stage of this tour. It's a crazy, almost surreal experience to see a live televised sporting event in a setting that seems the stuff of far off dreams. For us, the days of just jerseys and bibs remain months away. This year's Tour leaders' jerseys were designed by British fashion icon Paul Smith and one was elegantly modelled by GC race winner Mark Cavendish (who also had the honour of donning another PS designed jersey when he won the 2013 Giro d'Italia points classification).

The Dubai Tour has whetted our appetite nicely for the season ahead. Bring it on we say!