Cavendish, Viviani and Groenewegen confirmed for 2023 UAE Tour

Sprinters set to battle for honours at the UCI World Tour race, beginning on Monday

Astana Qazaqstan Team rider Mark Cavendish will be aiming to add to his seven stage UAE Tour wins when he competes in the race later this month. AFP
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The 2023 UAE Tour is set to see some of cycling's finest sprinters battle for supremacy after organisers confirmed on Friday that Mark Cavendish, Elia Viviani, and Dylan Groenewegen will compete at the UCI World Tour race later this month.

Cavendish, who shares the record of most Tour de France stage wins - 34 - with the great Eddy Merckx, has enjoyed plenty of success in past visits to the Emirates, with seven victories in five tours. His most recent win was last season, when he edged out Jasper Philipsen on the Abu Dhabi Breakwater to win Stage 2.

The 37-year-old Briton will be aiming to build on that past success and impress his new team, having joined Astana Qazaqstan Team at the start of the year.

“This season I am in a new team with the Astana Qazaqstan Team. I had a good winter, got to know my teammates, and when I am happy, like I am now, I know I can achieve good results," Cavendish said.

"As always I am excited to ride the UAE Tour. It's a place I know well and a race I have competed at many times before, achieving a lot of victories. It is a bit like a World Championships for sprinters and it’s important to get started with the right foot.”

With four of the seven stages being flat, the UAE Tour has always attracted many of the world's best sprinters, and 2023 is not different.

Among the riders out to challenge Cavendish will be Italian Viviani. The Ineos Grenadiers rider, winner of the 2018 Dubai Tour, first rode the UAE Tour in 2019, taking a stage victory and the sprinter’s green jersey. Viviani has also won five stages at the Giro d’Italia, one stage at the Tour de France, and was Olympic Champion in the omnium at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Team Jayco Alula's Groenewegen will also be in the hunt for sprint glory in the Emirates. The Dutchman is a five-time stage winner of the Tour de France (between 2017 to 2022), and is no stranger to the UAE Tour, having won Stage 4 in 2020.

This year he has already proved his form, conquering Stage 1 of the Saudi Tour, and will now be looking for more success in  the one and only UCI WorldTour race in the Middle East.

The 2023 UAE Tour will begin on Monday with the flat Dhafra Castle to Al Mirfa (151km) stage. Tuesday will host the 17.2km Team Time Trial starting and ending at Khalifa Port, before the tour's first mountain stage (185km) on Wednesday as the peloton races from Fujairah to Jebel Jais.

The tour will then have three successive flat stages; Stage 4 (174km) in Dubai, Stage 5 (182km) from Al Marjan Island to Umm al Quwain, and Stage 6 (166km) from Abu Dhabi to Abu Dhabi Breakwater.

The seventh and final stage (153km) will see the riders head back into the mountains, starting in Al Ain and ending the race at Jebel Hafeet.

Updated: February 17, 2023, 11:21 AM