Dubai Tour 2015: Favourites

philippe gilbertThe 2015 Dubai Tour offers three flat stages and one top-finish after a steep closing-climb with a 17% grade. An arrival for puncheurs like Philippe Gilbert. (Slideshow route/profile)

Unless the wind plays a crucial role, chances are that the Dubai Tour 2015 will be decided on that short and steep closing-climb in stage three.

Philippe Gilbert
The multiple winner of the Amstel Gold Race is one of the best riders in the pack when it comes to short steep arrivals. Of course his focus is on the spring classics and he will be not at his peak-form yet. That said, who is…?

Joaquim Rodriguez
Another specialist in arrivals like the Hatta Dam. Not as fast as Gilbert in the finale metres, but in Oman he showed on several occasions to be good early in the season. Also, next month he defends his title in his home-race Volta a Catalunya so he better be good.

Vincenzo Nibali
Team-boss Vinokourov wasn’t amused when Nibali took it ‘piano’ early in the 2014 season. But… noblesse oblige! The Tour-winner could wash away the nast taste of the Astana-winter by winning the overall in Dubai. In addition, the 50th edition of his beloved Tirreno-Adriatico (Nibali won in 2012 and 2013) is near. If he wants to shine, he should be in good form by now.

Alejandro Valverde
His attack in the Hajar Mountains didn’t come to fruition last year, but since stage 3 is tougher in edition 2015 the Spaniard is definitely a man to watch. Valverde is strong in shorter stage race, like the Vuelta a Murcia in his hometown used to be.

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