19 World Tour teams set for UAE Tour’s 3rd edition, Pogacar leads home challenge - GulfToday

19 World Tour teams set for UAE Tour’s 3rd edition, Pogacar leads home challenge


Last year’s UAE Tour winner Adam Yates bested UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar by 1 minute and 1 second in the overall standings. File

The first UCI World Tour race of the 2021 season, the UAE Tour will take place over seven stages from Feb.21-27.

All the top teams including Alpecin-Fenix -- the top-ranked UCI ProTeam in 2020, will be taking part in the race, The Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the UAE Tour organisers and Dubai Sports Council confirmed that for the first time all 19 World Tour teams have committed to compete in the third edition of the UAE Tour.

The start and finish locations of the first World Tour race of the season have also been confirmed, as ratified by the sports world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

This year’s edition will see the riders start and finish in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and compete over seven diverse stages that showcase the unique landscapes of the UAE. Fans across the globe can look forward to again witnessing a tremendously entertaining sporting spectacle. Twenty teams populate the provisional start list.

Both the first and second edition of the race -- won by Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic and Britain’s Adam Yates respectively -- attracted an exceptionally strong roster of riders, making for exciting racing. The 2021 UAE Tour will, of course, be no different where big names will be battling for general classification leader’s Red Jersey.

Last year’s winner Yates bested UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar by 1 minute and 1 second in the overall standings, despite an impressive display from the young Slovenian that saw him take victory on Stage 5 atop Jebel Hafeet -- a 10km long ascent that peaks over 1000m above sea level. The British cyclist was declared the winner after the race was called off two days before the scheduled finish due to COVID-19 concerns.

The varied climbs that have featured in the first two editions of the UAE Tour have provided world-class team leaders with exciting opportunities to showcase their form.

The race’s flatter stages have proved to be a sprinter’s paradise meanwhile, offering fast finishes for the world’s best sprinters including: Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett, Pascal Ackermann, Elia Viviani and Fernando Gaviria. Cycling fans worldwide can look forward to watching their favourite riders again compete in the UAE Tour from Feb.21.

Further details of the 2021 UAE Tour teams and riders will be announced in the coming weeks, closely followed by the announcement of the race route.

The last edition featured 20 teams, with 140 riders competing, including talented former world champions Alejandro Valverde (Movisar Team), Chris Froome (Team Ineos) and many other cycling stars.

As far as the UAE’s home challenge goes, the 2020 Tour de France winner Pogacar, who finished second last year, will be looking to exact revenge and claim victory for the UAE Team Emirates on its home turf.

The latest entrant to their strong team after a breakout season in 2020 is Swiss cyclist Marc Hirschi.

Hirschi signed a three-year deal following his exit from the Sunweb team.

The 22-year-old Swiss cyclist’s strong end to the 2020 season included winning a stage at the delayed Tour, the overall award as the most aggressive rider, plus his first one-day classic victory at the Fleche Wallonne in Belgium.

He also finished runner-up at the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic and took bronze at the World Championships.

The UAE Tour represents a distinctive model of continous national success and is in line for the global leadership vision of attracting the most important international events as well as professional althletes.

The organising committee will follow all necessary COVID-19 precautions to safeguard the safety of the riders, teams and staff.

The UAE Tour demonstrates the UAE’s capabilities in international sport and highlights its role in bringing people together in the UAE which is the home of peace and tolerance.

Related articles