Tadej Pogacar will go head-to-head with previous winner Adam Yates at the 2021 UAE Tour
The UAE Tour race organisers, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, unveiled the race’s provisional entry list, with strong battles expected for the leader’s Red Jersey, sprinter’s Green Jersey and individual stage victories
The GC contenders
As previously announced, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) will again go head-to-head with 2020 UAE Tour-winner Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) at this year’s race. Four-time Tour de France-winner Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) will also be in attendance and will be looking to put in a strong performance as he continues his spirited comeback from injury. Joining him in the GC battle will be a host of experienced team leaders including multiple Grand Tour-winner Vincenzo Nibali (Trek Segafredo), Giro d’Italia and Tour de France podium-finisher Rigoberto Uran (EF Education – Nippo) and former World Champion and Vuelta a España-winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).
There’ll be plenty of other riders to watch in the General Classification as exciting young prospect Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) will be making his first appearance at the UAE Tour alongside João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), fourth-place finisher at the 2020 Giro d’Italia. Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates) will join them for his second UAE Tour, and will no doubt aim to improve on his fifth place overall at last year’s edition. The 2020 UAE Tour’s third-place finisher meanwhile, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana – Premier Tech) will also be in the fight for the leader’s Red Jersey as he returns for the race’s third edition.
The list of GC-hopefuls doesn’t end there however. Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) will ride the UAE Tour after ending his 2020 season with a solid 6th place finish at the Vuelta a España. Teammate Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) – 10th place finisher at the 2020 Tour de France – will race alongside him. Bora – Hansgrohe, meanwhile, will also be riding with two potential GC contenders at the race – Patrick Konrad (8th place at the 2020 Giro d’Italia) andEmmanuel Buchmann (4th place at the 2019 Tour de France). Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), 9th place at last season’s Giro d’Italia, will also be in contention for a top 5 finish.
The Green Jersey Contenders
The UAE Tour’s well-earned reputation as a sprinter’s ‘world championship’ has once again attracted some of the fastest finishers in the sport of cycling for the race’s third edition. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) will ride the race for the third year in a row after taking the Green Jersey in 2020’s edition and two wins from two on the iconic Hatta Dam uphill finish. Racing alongside him at the first WorldTour event of the season will be UAE Tour stage victor and Tour de France Green Jersey winner Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), also riding his third edition. Also confirmed is last year’s opening stage winner Pascal Ackermann (Bora – Hansgrohe), who will look to repeat his success as he returns for his second UAE Tour this February, and Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), a stage winner in the race’s first edition.
The provisional entry list also includes 5-time Giro d’Italia stage-winner and 2019 UAE Tour Green Jersey-winner Elia Viviani (Cofidis) as well as Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) – twice winner of the Giro d’Italia’s Maglia Ciclamino. Strong finisher Luka Mezgec (Team Bikeexchange) and 22-time Grand Tour stage-winner Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) will also start. The German powerhouse will be riding his first UAE Tour.
Ones to watch
Away from the fight for the Red and Green Jerseys, time trial ace Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) makes his UAE Tour debut this February, following a sensational 2020 season in which he took four stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and an ITT World Champion’s Rainbow Jersey. The Italian rider will no doubt target Stage 2’s 13km ITT. Swiss rider Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) will also ride the race for the first time. The 2020 Tour de France stage winner and Road World Championship Bronze medalist at Imola will be keen to impress after signing for UAE Team Emirates at the start of the new year. Hirschi will be one to watch on some of the tour’s punchier stages.
Last, but certainly not least, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will ride his first UAE Tour. He’ll be starting the race on strong form, having recently taken his fourth Cyclo-cross World Championship title at Ostend, Belgium.
Breitling: the Official Timekeeper of the UAE Tour
Luxury Swiss watchmaker Breitling will be the official timekeeper for the race’s third edition. Founded in 1884, Breitling has established a global reputation for high-precision timepieces with an uncompromising commitment to design excellence. Its long history of providing precision timekeeping in the world of cycling has bore witness to partnerships with prestigious cycle races including the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and now, the one and only WorldTour race in the Middle East – the UAE Tour.
In addition to its official timekeeping duties, Breitling will provide the winner of each of the tour’s seven stages, and the overall General Classification victor, with the new Breitling Endurance Pro. The Endurance Pro combines an ultra-lightweight 44 millimeter Breitlight® case and a thermocompensated SuperQuartzTM movement ten times more accurate than conventional quartz to offer optimal comfort, matchless precision, and functionality that will appeal to both committed athletes and more casual sports enthusiasts alike.