[Underneath article was written before the start of the UAE Tour and has not been updated]
The GC battle at the UAE Tour comes down to three stages. The 2nd stage is a flat individual time of 13 kilometres long, while stages 3 and 5 finish uphill. Both are played out on (predominantly) flat roads before a climb to the line kicks in. The first of these is Jebel Hafeet, which is a 10.8 kilometres climb at 6.6% with the section between kilometre 4 and 8 sloping at 8% to 9%. The second finish climb is longer but easier – Jebel Jais climbs for 20 kilometres with gradients hovering around 5%.
All other stages are tailor-made for fast finishers.
Jebel Jais was included in the 1st edition of the UAE Tour without opening up any significant time gaps (Roglic sprinted to victory), but Jebel Hafeet is a different story. Last year, Yates attacked in the midway section of the climb and he finished roughly 1 minute ahead of his rivals.
In addition to the summit finishes, an ITT shapes the 2021 UAE Tour, which is a first in the race. The likes of Pogacar and Almeida will cheer this development, while Yates must be pleased that’s a relatively short test.
Favourites UAE Tour 2021
*** Adam Yates, Tadej Pogacar, João Almeida
** Daniel Felipe Martínez, Sepp Kuss, Alexey Lutsenko, Wout Poels
* Iván Sosa, Alejandro Valverde, Jack Haig, Emanuel Buchmann, Sergio Higuita