UAE Tour 2023: Stages, favorites and how to watch
After the premiere in Australia, the World Tour continues with the UAE Tour in which Remco Evenepoel will try to start showing his quality after the signs he showed us during La Vuelta a San Juan. A race in which Tadej Pogacar will not be present, who has chosen Spain to start his campaign.
How to watch the UAE Tour 2023
The Arab races that have established themselves on the February cycling calendar are an ideal scenario for the top riders to continue fine-tuning their form in preparation for the Classics or the Giro, while providing a great opportunity for the fast men of the peloton to show off in a land that guarantees perfect weather for cycling.
The UAE Tour can be followed live, from today until next Sunday, February the 26th, as usual, through Eurosport channel 2, as well as its application Eurosport Player or the associated service GCN+. A broadcast that starts at 11:50 in the morning, concluding the stages around 13:30.
The stages of the UAE Tour 2023
The Emirati race will take place between February 20 and 26 with 7 stages, including the time trial on the second day and the high finishes on the third and seventh in a program that repeats the scheme of previous years.
The first stage, between Al Dhafra and Al Mirfa, has a completely flat profile that starts from the interior to go looking for the coast through the desert along its 151 kilometers. The stage concludes with an 18-kilometer circuit, without technical complications as it is an out-and-back route along the coast, to which the cyclists must ride two laps. A first stage to get the legs in tune and that, presumably, should be decided by a sprint.
The second day's stage will be the Khalifa pass, on which a 17.2 km route has been designed for the time trial that should begin to define the race. It is a completely flat route along the pass, very favorable for specialists against the clock as it lacks complicated bends, only the several traffic circles that are taken straight and the two turning points at each end of the circuit to make a 180º turn.
With the favorites already placed in the classification, the third stage, of 185 kilometers, will lead the peloton to the first high finish in Jebel Jais, an ascent that is defined as such by the organization from the last 20 kilometers, where percentages around 5% are maintained, although really, only the last 2 in which the slopes slightly exceed 7% will be decisive for the outcome of the race.
174 kilometers, again flat, await the cyclists on the 4th day, which will take place in the surroundings of Dubai, the most important city of the Emirates and which will surely leave us with spectacular images of its pharaonic constructions. On the sporting side, it will be another day for the fast men of the peloton.
A similar outcome to that of the 5th stage with arrival in Umm Al Quwain after 182 kilometers and the 6th stage, which will be held in the capital of the Emirates, Abu Dhabi.
Finally, the last stage will bring us back to the fight for the overall with the 153 kilometers that will take the riders to the traditional finish in Jebel Hafeet: 10 kilometers of uphill, by wide road and percentages that are around 8-9% all the time and maximum gradients of up to 11% that will serve to definitively sentence the race.
On the other hand, between February 9 and 12, the first edition of the women's version of this UAE Tour will be held, in this case, over 4 stages, with similar routes to their male counterparts, although only the third stage, with a finish in Jebel hafeet, should be decisive in clarifying the overall classification.
As usual in this race, most teams already present a very good level lineups, although on this occasion, the absence of UAE-Team Emirates leader in the home race Tadej Pogacar, reigning winner of the race, is striking. The Slovenian has opted to start his campaign at the second edition of the Clásica Jaén Paraiso Interior and its dirt sections and La Vuelta a Andalucía.
However, this UAE Tour will have a good selection, including none other than the World Champion Remco Evenepoel who, in addition, will be the favorite given the characteristics of the course where he can assert his power in the time trial and with the only two climbs of the race very appropriate to his characteristics.
In front of him will be the UAE-Team Emirates riders, who will try to win again in this important race for them. In the absence of Pogacar, Marc Soler, Brandon McNulty and Adam Yates will be in charge. On the other hand, their great rival, Jumbo-Visma, will put the weight of the race on Sepp Kuss, who will have a good opportunity to shine in Emirati lands. For his part, Pello Bilbao will try to give continuity to the good start of the season he is making despite the penalty that the time trial entails.
The focus of this UAE Tour will also be on the fast men, who will have up to 4 occasions to shine. Mark Cavendish, Dylan Groenewegen, Juan Sebastian Molano, Tim Merlier, Sam Bennett and Caleb Ewan are sure to offer spectacular finishes.
Regarding the women, Elisa Longo-Borghini starts as top favorite, with the permission of riders like Marta Cavalli, who is perfectly adapted to the high finish of this race or an always solvent Lorena Wiebes.