The Briton won the overall title last year while still with Etixx Quick-Step thanks to victories on the first and fourth stages. Cavendish left Quick-Step at the end of last season to join the first African cycling team to take part in the Tour de France, MTN-Qhubeka, who have since been renamed Dimension Data.
The 30-year-old, who has won 44 stages on Grand Tours, is looking forward to getting four days on the road under his belt ahead of a busy season.
“I’ve raced in the Dubai Tour the last two years and I’ve enjoyed it, especially with winning it overall last year. I’ve come back with not much road racing under my belt, but I know from the track that my sprint is good,” Cavendish said.