The Norwegian goes into the tour in fine form having picked up his first win in UAE colours at Eschborn-Frankfurt.
He is supported by the UAE national champion, Yousif Mirza who is also going through somewhat of a purple patch, after a series of victories in the UAE and Asia, as well as picking up a recent UAE sporting recognition award.
Joining the duo will be teammates: Anass Ait El Abdia, Sven Erik Bystrom, Filippo Ganna, Kristijan Durasek and Edward Ravasi.
Kristoff said: “I hope to take at least one stage win like I did in 2016. I am well-trained and I feel ready to tackle the tour head on. I hope that I’m able to manage the jet-lag well, but it’ll be the same for all the riders coming from Europe.”
The 2018 Tour of California has thrown up an extremely competitive line-up, with the seven-day race being billed as the start of preparations for this year’s Tour de France.
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamUAEAbuDhabi) May 11, 2018
Stage one will certainly suit the sprinters amongst the peloton, whilst Stage two could give some indication as to whom should be considered for the overall General Classification (GC), given the gruelling 12km climb to the summit finish on Gibraltar Road.
Italy’s Enrico Battaglin, of the Lotto NL team, won the fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday after a 153km race from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa in Sicily.
Australia’s Rohan Dennis (BMC) retained the overall leader’s pink jersey on the second of three days on the Mediterranean island and on the eve of a tough sixth stage on the slopes of Mount Etna.
Battaglin dominated a sprint finish with compatriot Giovanni Visconti and Portugal’s Jose Goncalves, who finished second and third respectively.
It was the third Giro stage win for 28-year-old Battaglin, a specialist on uphill finishes, after 2013 and 2014.
Belgian rider Tim Wellens won the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, the first on Italian soil in this year’s race, while Chris Froome’s hopes of a third straight Grand Tour victory took another hit.
Wellens won a sprint on an uphill finish, holding off Canadian Michael Woods and Italy’s Enrico Battaglin following the 202km ride between Catania and Caltagirone in Sicily.
Australian Rohan Dennis retained the overall leader’s pink jersey after the first of three days on the Mediterranean island, after the race had started in Jerusalem followed by two stages in Israel.
Britain’s four-time Tour de France winner Froome lost up to 20 seconds on his rivals on the final climb.
The race was built around a five-man breakaway — Enrico Barbin, Jacopo Mosca, Quentin Jauregui, Maxim Belkov and Marco Frapporti – who opened up a four-minute lead before being caught 13km from the line and the climb towards Caltagirone.
In the final push, Italy’s Valerio Conti showed his ambitions up front but was reeled in with three kilometres to go.
For 26-year-old Lotto rider Wellens it was a second career win in the Giro two years after his first.
The Belgian has claimed one-day race wins such as the Montreal GP in 2015 and stage races including the Eneco Tour and the Tour of Poland.
Wednesday’s fifth stage will cover 153km between Agrigente and Santa Ninfa.