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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

Tadej Pogacar ready to deliver at UAE Tour as UAE Team Emirates announce lineup

Tour de France champion gets the new season underway in the Emirates

Tadej Pogacar has said he is ready to get his new season off to a winning start as the Tour de France champion gets set to lead UAE Team Emirates at the season-opening UAE Tour.

Pogacar, 22, has already experienced success at the UAE Tour having won the fifth stage last year and finishing second in the general classification in a race cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once cycling resumed, the Slovenian made history by becoming the youngest Tour de France winner in 116 years and the first ever from his country.

After a pre-season that included some time spent in the UAE, Pogacar is back in the Emirates and is raring to go for the UCI World Tour season-opener.

“It’s my first race of the season so I’m excited to get started and get back competing again. My preparation has gone really well. We’ve been on Mount Teide (in Tenerife, Spain) training at altitude over the past few weeks with a good group and done a quality block of training with a great atmosphere.

"I was thrilled to get the stage win here last year. Obviously it will be a bit of a different atmosphere this year but we are all really motivated to race and give our all in the UAE colours.

"Between holidays and training camps I have spent a lot of time in the UAE lately and I can say that the UAE Tour is a race I would really love to win someday. If it can be this year then that would be great.”

Pogacar will be joined in the seven-rider lineup by compatriot Jan Polanc, Italy's Davide Formolo, Danish rider Mikkel Bjerg, Poland's Rafal Majka, Argentine Maximiliano Richeze, and Colombian sprint star Fernando Gaviria, who won the opening stage of the 2019 race.

This year’s UAE Tour will run from February 21-27 and will feature seven days racing including four flat stages, two mountain stages and an individual time trial.

“Our aim will be to pick up where we left the race last year: with a victory," manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez said. "Whether it’s the GC or a stage or both, we are searching for that first win of 2021 and to achieve it on home soil would be fantastic.

"We’re on home territory and we know that all eyes will be on us but it’s something we’ll use as further motivation. Pogacar will be our leader but the reality is it’s a squad that can adapt to any situation and we will have different cards to play, especially on the climbs.

"Gaviria has a good track record here also and will be our main man for the sprint finishes.”

Published: February 18, 2021 05:36 PM

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