UAE Team Emirates are sending a strong line-up to the inaugural UAE Tour (2.UWT) focused on both GC and stage wins with Dan Martin, Rui Costa and Fernando Gaviria on the seven-man team.
The race which starts on 24 February features a team time trial, a challenging finish to the Hatta Dam, three days for the sprinters, and two in the mountains: the traditional Jabel Jafeet finish and the new 20-kilometre Jabel Jais climb that should decide the race overall.
“I’m truly happy to race this new event,” Dan Martin said. “It’s a beautiful nation and for the first time we can take it all in a week-long race. We have a strong team and the chance to play for the win almost every day. I went early to the UAE to preview the mountain stages.
“In the last race, Vuelta Valenciana, my feelings were very good. I thought of the UAE race all winter and so I hope to be able to get the best result possible. Clearly for our team this race has significance and we are going try to win at all costs.
“We have a group of strong riders coming to race, which tells you something about how important it is for us. We are going to try in every way to make an aggressive race with the hope of reaching the top of the classification.”
“Our goal is to win,” Rui Costa added. “We have three leaders for the overall classification and tactically, we can play ourselves well. It’s always great to ride on those home roads of our sponsor, it gives a certain motivation. I have good memories of 2017 when I was able to win the overall of the Abu Dhabi Tour“.
“I’m motivated and focused on this home race,” Gaviria said. “This year I began strongly in Argentina, but I was a little big suffering from a cold in Colombia, so I had to pull out after two stages. I hope to have recovered 100% to be able to aim for a stage win, which would surly please the sponsors and our management“.
UAE Team Emirates team for the UAE Tour:
Rui Costa (Por),
Daniel Martin (Irl),
Fernando Gaviria (Col),
Alexander Kristoff (Nor),
Vegard Laengen (Nor),
Oliviero Troia (Ita),
Diego Ulissi (Ita).
Sports Directors: Joxean Fernandez Matxin (Esp), Marco Marzano (Ita), Neil Stephens (Aus).