Elia Viviani (ITA — Quick-Step Floors)

Rio Olympic Games gold medallist Viviani will once again be one of the firm favourites for the UAE Tour.

Viviani was all but untouchable in the sprints, winning 18 times across last season after his switch to Quick-Step from Team Sky. He had already tasted success in this part of the world having won the General Classification at the Dubai Tour last year and a stage at the Abu Dhabi Tour. Viviani’s success in 2018 also includes four stage wins at the Giro d’Italia, three at the Vuelta a Espana and the Italian National Championship.

Tom Dumoulin (NED — Team Sunweb)

Former UCI World Time Trial champion, Dutchman Dumoulin a will definitely be another firm contender for the General Classification.

Dumoulin, who won the Giro in 2017 to register his biggest win as a Grand Tour rider, was second in Italy behind Chris Froome last year. He also went on to finish second at the Tour de France. Though the Giro and Tour de France will be his top priority for the season, the Rio Olympic Games silver medallist will be keen to impress here in the UAE which will be his first race of the season.

Alejandro Valverde (ESP — Movistar Team)

Valverde, winner of the 2018 World Championship road race and winner of the Abu Dhabi Tour, will also one to beat on the UAE Tour. He is one of the most successful riders in the peloton with over 100 pro wins since his debut in 2002 with the Kelme-Costa Blanca team.

Known as El Bala (‘The Bullet’), Valverde’s top triumphs includes the 2009 Giro d’Italia title, four Liege-Bastogne-Liege victories and five at La Fleche Wallonne.

Vincenzo Nibali (ITA — Bahrain — Merida)

Nibali is also one of the greatest ever all-rounders in fray and one of only six cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours: the Vuelta in 2010, the Giro in both 2013 and 2016 and Le Tour in 2014.

Last year saw a prestigious victory for Nibali, the Milano-Sanremo, a monument race, with an amazing solo attack.

Known as Lo Squalo — the Shark — his other achievements include two editions of the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, the 2016 Tour of Oman, and two editions of Il Lombardia.

Marcel Kittel (GER — Katusha Alpecin)

German star Kittel has been at his dominant best in the UAE over the years. He won a stage at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour and has registered two overall classification victories at the Dubai Tour in 2016 and 2017.

Over his career he has racked up 86 victories, including 19 Grand Tour stage wins — four at the Giro, 14 at Le Tour and one at the Vuelta — Kittel is sure to be a strong contender for the UAE Tour.