UAE Tour 2019: Team Sky's Chris Froome withdraws ahead of inaugural race

Britain's four-time Tour de France champion 'underestimated' altitude training and has been replaced by Kenny Elissonde for the UAE race

epa07367747 British cyclist Chris Froome (C), of Sky, competes in the second stage of the Tour Colombia 2.1, in La Ceja, Antioquia, Colombia, 13 February 2019.  EPA/Luis Eduardo Noriega A.
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Team Sky's four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has withdrawn from the upcoming UAE Tour as he recovers from last week’s Tour Colombia.

The British World Tour team announced their line-up for the inaugural UAE Tour on Wednesday, with Froome conspicuous by his absence. The 33-year-old rider then confirmed his withdrawal on Twitter.

“Gutted to be missing the UAE Tour," Froome wrote. "I was really looking forward to the TTT and two uphill finishes. Unfortunately, I underestimated the effect training and racing at altitude would have on me this early in the season. Best of luck to the team!"

In Froome's absence, the leadership passes to Michał Kwiatkowski and Gianni Moscon who will share the responsibility.

Sky are sending a strong squad to the Middle East’s only World Tour race, including Kwiatkowski, Moscon, Salvatore Puccio, Pavel Sivakov, Michał Gołas, and Kristoffer Halvorsen. Frenchman Kenny Elissonde has been drafted in to replace Froome.

The UAE Tour, a seven-stage UCI World Tour event spanning 1,090 kilometres, begins on Sunday in Abu Dhabi with the team time trial at Al Hudayriat Island. After taking in all seven emirates, the race finishes on March 2 at Dubai's City Walk.