The persistent coronacrisis has delayed the start of the cycling season. Through all the Australian races with which the season usually starts, a line went. The first WorldTour competition is, as it stands, the Tour of the United Arab Emirates from 21 February.
On the starting list there are big names. This is how reigning Tour winner Tadej Pogacar and quadruple winner of the Tour of France Chris Froome start their road season in the Emirates. Last years winner, Adam Yates, is also at the start.
Van der Poel on the road
Mathieu van der Poel also drives the UAE Tour, which lasts until Saturday 27 February. Van der Poel lets the Flemish opening weekend, consisting of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, pass by.
Van der Poel is currently preparing for the Cyclocross World Championships. In a week and a half, he will defend his world title in Ostend, and the rider of Alpecin-Fenix is hunting his fourth rainbow jersey.
The UAE Tour, a race of the RCS that also organizes the Tour of Italy, has also managed to get several top sprinters. For example, Sam Bennett (winner of the green jersey in the Tour), Caleb Ewan, Pascal Ackermann and Fernando Gaviria are at the start.
The latter was one of the riders who tested positive for the coronavirus in the Emirates in 2020. During that match in March, the pandemic broke out in the peloton. A lot of shifts had to quarantine at their hotel. Ramon Sinkeldam had to stay longer in the Emirates with his Groupama formation as a precaution.