[Underneath article was written before the start of the UAE Tour and has not been updated]
The first time gaps will be opened up on the first day of action. The UAE Tour kicks into gear with a flat team time trial in Abu Dhabi. Arguably, Bahrain Merida is the team to beat. Their line-up is impressive with Word Champion time trialing Rohan Dennis and Vincenzo Nibali, although Sunweb is not weak either with Tom Dumoulin and Wilco Kelderman in their ranks.
Following a chance for fast men the 3rd stage will be pre-decisive as the finish is uphill on Jebel Hafeet. The climb that formerly punctuated the Abu Dhabi Tour is 10.8 kilometres long and its average slope is 6.6%.
Stage 4 is played out on undulating terrain and finishes on a punchy ramp, but normally GC riders should not be alarmed. Which is something else on the sixth day. The battle for GC will probably come down to stage 6, where the action will be centered on the last 20 kilometres. Following a race on pan-flat roads the finale takes place on Jebel Jais, a 20 kilometres uphill with an average gradient of 5%.
Favourites UAE Tour 2019
***** Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic
**** Alejandro Valverde, Richie Porte
*** Daniel Martin, Vincenzo Nibali, Wilco Kelderman
** Pierre Latour, Tejay van Garderen, Bauke Mollema
* Rui Costa, Ilnur Zakarin, Gorka Izagirre