UAE Team Emirates on the hunt for third successive win on home soil

Fifth edition of the UCI event set to begin at Al Dhafra Castle, with 7 stages standing between the world’s top riders and the podium places

By Team KT

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UAE Team Emirates. — Supplied photo
UAE Team Emirates. — Supplied photo

Published: Sat 18 Feb 2023, 4:01 PM

The UAE Tour, the one and only World Tour Cycling event in the Middle East, returns to the UAE as UAE Team Emirates search for an unprecedented third straight victory in their home race.

The 7 stage, 1,028km event, will kick off at Al Dhafra Castle before heading into Abu Dhabi and the wider Emirates. The world’s best riders will be tasked with a team time-trial, sprint stages potentially facing strong winds across the plains of the desert, and two mountainous stages including a steep 11% incline finish up Jebel Hafeet to the finish line.

UAE Team Emirates will be the team to beat heading into their home race, winning the previous two editions of the event with their Slovenian Superstar Tadej Pogacar showing his class and securing the Red Jersey. Such heroics from their talisman Pogacar won’t be replicated in this year’s event however, with the Slovenian opting for a different race schedule as he looks to hit peak performance at the Tour De France this summer.

Adam Yates, once Pogacar’s fiercest competitor in the UAE Tour, will be spearheading the charge for UAE Team Emirates alongside Spaniard Marc Soler and the experienced Columbian Sebastian Molano. Yates, winner of the 2020 edition of the UAE Tour for Orica-GreenEdge, is one of the newest additions to the UAE Team Emirates roster and will be looking to replicate fellow UAE Team Emirates debutant Jay Vine in winning his debut race for the team, following the Australian’s recent success at the Tour Down Under.

Speaking ahead of the race, lead rider Adam Yates said: “I’m incredibly excited to get underway with the team. We had a brilliant pre-season tour in Spain, allowing us to come together as a group both in and out of the saddle. The entire group, both riders and support staff, have been so welcoming to all of the new guys joining the team for 2023, so we’re all desperate to get out there and show what we can do.

The UAE Tour is an event that I know well and one that I always look forward to on the racing calendar. I’ve tasted success here previously and then come close in 2022, losing to my now-team mate Tadej Pogacar, so I am feeling confident that I can put in a strong performance and deliver the best possible result for the team at our home race.”

Mauro Gianetti, CEO and Team Principal, on the eve of the event, said: “We’re all looking forward to continuing our strong start to the 2023 season. With individual victories in the Tour Down Under, followed by Team Classification victories in the Tour of Saudi and Vuelta Valenciana, it shows we got our preparation for the season spot on and we’re looking to carry this momentum into our home race.

Racing here in the UAE is always a special occasion for all those involved and associated with the team, allowing us to put on a spectacle for our UAE fans that support us so well throughout the year. We will be doing everything possible to make it three victories in a row in front of our fans, partners, and sponsors alike.”

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