A host of world-class riders will feature in the line-up for the 2022 UAE Tour. File
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The UAE Tour race organisers, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, are pleased to reveal a host of GC contenders expected to compete in the fourth edition of the one and only UCI WorldTour race in the Middle East, starting Feb.20.
Last year’s UAE Tour and two-time Tour de France-winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) returns to the race for 2022.
The Slovenian rider will be joined on the start line by his new teammate João Almeida, whose palmares includes a 4th and 6th place finish in the Giro d’Italia. Almeida will ride his second UAE Tour, having finished third overall in last year’s race.
UAE Team Emirates will be faced with strong opposition from the seventeen UCI WorldTeams and 3 ProTeams competing this year, many of whom have selected riders targeting the general classification.
INEOS Grenadiers’ Adam Yates is among the list of challengers. His attendance continues a rivalry at the race that first began in 2020, the year in which the British rider bested Pogačar in the UAE Tour general classification by one minute and one second to claim overall victory.
The following year saw a reverse outcome, with Pogačar taking the leader’s Red Jersey home courtesy of a 35 second advantage over second-placed Yates overall. With the score settled on 1-1, the INEOS Grenadiers rider will look to make it 2-1 in his favour this month.
The fourth edition of the race also marks the return of Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), who last rode the UAE Tour in 2019, competing in its augural edition.
After a break from professional cycling, 2022 is a big year for the Dutch rider, who is looking to prove himself at a Grand Tour this season. Dumoulin will no doubt aim to build on the 6th place overall that he earned at the 2019 UAE Tour and begin his WorldTour season with a strong result.
Pogačar, Almeida, Yates and Dumoulin are also joined by Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Jai Hindley (Bora – Hansgrohe). Bardet will be competing in the race for the first time, adding the UAE Tour to a palmares that includes two Tour de France GC podiums and multiple Grand Tour stage wins. Hindley’s presence, meanwhile, adds even more experience at the pinnacle of cycling to this year’s UAE Tour peloton, as the 25 year-old Australian has already taken second place overall in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de Pologne so far in his promising career.
The 2022 UAE Tour will surely witness a hotly contested GC battle, courtesy of a parcours that features two mountain stages and a 9km long, high-speed individual time trial. Across the tour’s seven stages, the riders will cover 1058km and 3500m of elevation gain, almost all of which is concentrated in Stages 4 and 7’s summit finishes atop Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet.
Four sprinter’s stages are also set to attract the world’s best fast finishers, many of whom will be announced over the coming days. The six riders revealed today, meanwhile, will be joined by a host of additional soon-to-be-announced GC contenders, with a full provisional entry list of riders to come in due course.