Pascal Ackermann, Brandon McNulty (above) and Ivo Oliveira will lead UAE Team Emirates charge at Challenge Mallorca.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
After wrapping up a successful pre-season training camp, UAE Team Emirates has picked a well-rounded 12-man outfit to tackle Challenge Mallorca, a series of one day events held each year in the Baleaerics Islands of Spain from Jan.26 -30.
Challenge Mallorca kicks off with Trofeo Calvia, a 154.7km race from Camp de Mar to Magaluf, with 12 climbs along the route. Trofeo Alcudia follows the next day with a slightly longer 173.2km route, which begins flat and ends with a series of punishing climbs overlooking the Port of Alcudia.
Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana takes place on the third day with a 158.9km hilly route that could well come down to a sprint finish.
The block of racing ends with Trofeo Pollenca, a 168.9km race that takes the peloton from Pollenca in the east of the island over to Andratxx on its most western tip.
The team’s newest German sprint sensation, Pascal Ackermann, along with Columbian fast man Sebastian Molano, will provide the squad with some serious firepower in the flatter sprint stages, while America’s Brandon McNulty, Portugal’s Ivo Oliveira and Solvenia’s Jan Polanc will look for opportunities on the hilly days.
The experienced Spanish climber Marc Soler will make his debut for the Emirati formation along with Swiss sprinter Joel Suter, who takes the step up to World Tour level after proving to be a promising talent in the Pro Tour over the past two years.
Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager): “After a really nice training camp with the whole squad the team are ready and excited to kick things off for the first part of the season. The parcours of each of these races in Mallorca demand different qualities so we’ll have a very balanced team here. We’ll count on Ackermann and Molano for the sprints while on the climbs we have a talented block of guys who can be dangerous and look for opportunities. But the goal will be to animate each race and be leading from the front as always.”
On the final day of racing, a second team will be in action over the border in France at the GP de Marseille. Matteo Trentin and Diego Ulissi will both get their season underway on a challenging 174.3km route, which should end in a thrilling bunch sprint finish that is likely to suit the Italian duo.
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