Dubai: Home favourite and Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar will join defending champion Adam Yates as some of the top names in cycling were announced for the 2021 UAE Tour scheduled to be held next month.
Joining Pogacar and Yates will be Chris Froome and Mathieu van der Poel along as time trial ace Filippo Ganna makes his UAE Tour debut alongside world class sprinters such as Sam Bennett, Caleb Ewan, Pascal Ackermann and Fernando Gaviria when the third edition is held from February 21-27.
Organised jointly by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Dubai Sports Council and RCS Sport, the third edition of the UAE Tour will see all 19 UCI WorldTeams competing in the only WorldTour race being held in the Middle East.
Among those competing for the race leader’s Red Jersey will be UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar, winner of the 2020 Tour de France.
Racing at the start of a breakout 2020 season, Pogacar had finished in second place behind Red Jersey winner Yates in the General Classification last year. The 22-year-old Slovenian rider from UAE Team Emirates has already returned for his second UAE Tour, hoping to better the stage victory and White Jersey he secured last time.
Last year’s winner Yates, who recently joined the British Ineos Grenadiers outfit, will again pit himself against Pogacar in his second consecutive appearance at the race. The previous year saw Yates take Stage 3 atop Jebel Hafeet, only for his Slovenian rival to win round two at the same summit finish two stages later. A close finale left just one minute and one second between the two riders in the General Classification.
This year’s Red Jersey battle won’t be fought solely between Pogacar and Yates as among the multiple GC riders will be four-time Tour de France winner Froome. The British rider, who recently completed a move to the Israel Start-Up Nation team, will be hoping to begin the new season on fine form as he continues his spirited comeback from injury.
Away from the GC fight, time trial ace Ganna will be making his UAE Tour debut following a sensational 2020 in which he took four stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and an ITT World Champion’s Rainbow Jersey.
Swiss rider Marc Hirschi, who is the latest signing for UAE Team Emirates, will also be among the riders making their debut in the UAE. The 2020 Tour de France stage winner and bronze medallist at the Road World Championship in Imola will be keen to impress in his home race.
The UAE Tour’s well-earned reputation as a sprinter’s ‘world championship’ has also attracted Lotto Soudal’s Caleb Ewan, who will ride here for the third year after taking the Green Jersey last year. Racing alongside will be UAE Tour stage victor and Tour de France Green Jersey winner Sam Bennett of Deceuninck - Quick-Step.
Also confirmed is last year’s opening stage winner Pascal Ackermann (Bora - Hansgrohe), who will look to repeat his success as he returns for his second UAE Tour and Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), a stage winner in the race’s first edition. Also in the mix will be UCI ProTeam Alpecin-Fenix rider Mathieu van der Poel in his debut here.