The 2021 UAE Tour has attracted a stellar field for the year’s opening UCI WorldTour event.
The seven-stage race from February 21 to 27 includes two summit finishes, a 12km individual time-trial and four flat stages.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s rising Portuguese star Joao Almeida is another to keep an eye on.
So who will walk away with the red jersey when all is said and done?
The race will be decided on the two summit finishes on stages three and five. The ITT on stage two over 12km is dead flat and too short to have too much of an impact overall.
Ineos’ Filippo Ganna will win the ITT, but won’t defend the red jersey the following day on the 166km ride up Jebel Hafeet.
Pogacar, with his incredible ITT performance in stage 20 of last year’s Tour de France still fresh in his memory, will be the best of the GC contenders in the time-trial.
Unfortunately for the rest of the peloton, he can climb too and will be inspired riding for his UAE Team Emirates team in front of their supporters.
Overall winner prediction: Tadej Pogacar
The battle for the green sprinter’s jersey promises to be a fierce one with a number of the world’s fastest men having made the journey to the Middle East.
With four flat stages, race organisers have come up with a route that’s likely to see a number of elbows out, heads down, photo finishes.
Green jersey winner prediction: Caleb Ewan
NOTE: The race will not be screened on SuperSport. Visit the In the Bunch website for daily stage reports and results.
Stage one will begin at 10:25 SA time on Sunday, February 21.