Vincenzo Nibali headlines star-studded list of cyclists at Dubai Tour

Vincenzo Nibali is the headline name at the Dubai Tour.

Some of the world's leading cyclists are set to descend on the UAE for the Dubai Tour, which starts on Tuesday.

German Marcel Kittel, who has won the last two editions of the five-stage race and holds the record with eight stage wins across three editions, is among the star attractions, although the headline name is surely Vincenzo Nibali. The Italian won the 2014 Tour de France and the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, and has won his home Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, twice.

The race, which will begin from Skydive Dubai, will also feature former Dubai Tour winner Mark Cavendish, and Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen. Groenewegen stood on the podium on every day of the Dubai Tour last year, and will be looking to build upon on his third-place finish from 2017.

Among the other headline names are current European road champion Alexander Kristoff of Norway, Italians Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, German puncheur John Degenkolp, and Irish all-rounder Nicolas Roche.

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Marcel Kittel returns to headline world-class Dubai Tour field

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Marcel Kittel has won back-to-back crowns in Dubai.

Some of the world’s top sprinters, including back-to-back winner Marcel Kittel, former champion Mark Cavendish and multiple Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali, will be competing in next week’s Dubai Tour.

The fifth edition of the event runs from February 6-10.

The provisional entry list, announced on Wednesday, also includes Italians Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, Holland’s Dylan Groenewegen, who stood on the 2017 Dubai Tour podium every day and finished third in the General Classification, and Norwegian Alexander Kristoff, the 2017 European Road Champion.

Puncheur John Degenkolb of Germany and Irish all-rounder Nicolas Roche also feature on the entry list for the 2018 edition of the event, which is organised by Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sports and Events DMCC.

Star name riders in full:

Marcel Kittel (GER – Katusha Alpecin)
Mark Cavendish (British Isles – Team Dimension Data)
Alexander Kristoff (NOR – UAE Team Emirates)
Elia Viviani (ITA – Team Sky)
John Degenkolb (GER – Trek-Segafredo)
Dylan Groenewegen (NED – Team Lotto NL-Jumbo)
Nacer Bouhanni (FRA – Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Bahrain Merida)

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Dubai Tour 2018 line-up announced as 16 teams enter competition

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The 16 teams invited to the fifth edition of the Dubai Tour – taking place from 6 to 10 February 2018 – have been officially announced.

Nine UCI WorldTour Teams, five UCI Professional Continental Teams, one UCI Continental Team and one UAE National Selection team will be at the start of the five-stage professional cycling race organised by the Dubai Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport.

Each team will consist of seven riders and below is the full line-up.

UCI WORLDTOUR TEAMS

ASTANA PRO TEAM – KAZ

Astana is part of the Astana President’s Professional Sports Club, which was created by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, N.A. Nazarbayev, in 2012.

Astana’s palmares includes an Olympic gold medal (Alexander Vinokourov, now General Manager, won the Men’s Road Race, London 2012), eight Grand Tour victories (three Giri d’Italia with Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador, three Vueltas a España with Fabio Aru, Vinokurov and Alberto Contador, two Tours de France with Contador and Nibali), 41 Grand Tour stage wins, and 185 others victories.

The man to watch in Dubai should be Colombian all-rounder Miguel Ángel López.

Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno

BAHRAIN-MERIDA – BRN

Founded in 2016, Bahrain-Merida is a team supported by a consortium of businesses and partners from the island of Bahrain and His Highness Sheikh Nasser.

This is the second season under the reign of Brent Copeland, the team’s General Manager. In its inaugural season Bahrain-Merida got 12 wins (including Il Lombardia, the Italian Monument race) and two prestigious podiums with Vincenzo Nibali, third at the Giro d’Italia (behind Tom Dumoulin and Nairo Quintana) and second at the Vuelta a Espana (behind Chris Froome).

For Dubai the roster could include Sonny Colbrelli, who would be in contention for all of the stages.

BMC RACING TEAM – USA

This UCI WorldTour team, headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, was formed in 2006.

A founding member of Velon, last year BMC Racing Team recorded 48 race wins; the most important were the Paris-Roubaix and the Gent Wevelgem won by Greg Van Avermaet, the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Romandie won by Richie Porte and the Vuelta a Espana’s Team Time Trial.

Spearheading their race will be winner of the 2017 UCI WorldTour ranking, Greg Van Avermaet.

Greg Van Avermaet

QUICK-STEP FLOORS – BEL

This WorldTour team is based in Wevelgem, Belgium, the heartland of Flemish cycling. At the helm is Patrick Lefevere, one of the most successful managers in the history of cycling.

Since 2003, the team has recorded more than 600 victories and last year’s achievements includes five stages at the Tour de France, five at the Giro d’Italia, six at the Vuelta a Espana, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Amstel Gold Race with Philippe Gilbert, and Paris-Tours with Matteo Trentin.

The Dutchman Niki Terpstra and Italian Elia Viviani, who has won two previous stages in Dubai (in 2015 and 2016), will both be at the start on 6 February.

TEAM DIMENSION DATA – RSA

Founded in 2007, Dimension Data became the first ever African cycling team to gain a WorldTour licence, in 2016.

The team’s palmares includes a Milan-Sanremo victory (Gerald Ciolek in 2013), seven Tour de France stages, one Vuelta stage victory, one Giro d’Italia stage and two Tour of Britain overall classification wins (Edvald Boasson Hagen, 2015; Steve Cummings, 2016).

The team was originally known as MTN–Qhubeka. The 2018 roster is built around its main sprinter Mark Cavendish. The Manxman won the 2015 Dubai Tour and he will definitely be focused on achieving a Dubai Tour double.

Mark Cavendish

TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN – SUI

Katusha was originally a Russian-licensed cycling team, becoming a Swiss outfit in 2016. Team Katusha Alpecin’s palmares boasts 22 Grand Tour stage wins. Among last year’s 17 victories, the major achievement was the Tour de Suisse General Classification with Simon Špilak.

For 2018, Katusha Alpecin hired one of the best sprinters, Marcel Kittel, the back-to-back winner here in Dubai, where he has won a record eight stages in three editions.

The German will be the favourite to win the Circle of Stars and the Point classification too.

TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – NED

This Dutch cycling team was founded in 1984 under the name Kwantum, anchored by Jan Raas, and since 2015 the head sponsor has been Lotto-Jumbo.

Last year Team Lotto NL-Jumbo recorded 26 wins. The most prestigious of those were the final stage of the Giro d’Italia with Jos Van Emden and two Tour de France stages with Primoz Roglic (Stage 17) and Dylan Groenewegen on the Champs-Élysées (Stage 21).

For the Dubai Tour, the probable roster will include Dylan Groenewegen. Last year the Dutch sprinter featured on the podium every day and finished third in the General Classification behind Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.

TREK-SEGAFREDO – USA

Founded in 2011 as Leopard Trek, this US team’s biggest achievements are the Vuelta a España victory by Chris Horner in 2013, two Tours of Flanders and a Paris-Roubaix win, thanks to Fabian Cancellara.

Last year’s victories included one Tour de France stage with Bauke Mollema and one at the Vuelta a España with Alberto Contador. John Degenkolb and Giacomo Nizzolo could be the Trek-Segafredo riders to watch in the Dubai Tour.

The German has always done well in Dubai: he won the Hatta stage in 2015 and the sprint in Fujairah last year (Stage 2). Without the cancellation of Stage 4, he would certainly have competed with Marcel Kittel for the General classification.

In 2016, the Italian sprinter wore the blue jersey for one day and finished second in the General Classification behind Marcel Kittel.

John Degenkolb

UAE TEAM EMIRATES – UAE

Known for 20 years as Lampre, last season the team was rebranded as UAE Emirates. Managed by the former Italian champion Giuseppe Saronni, in 2017 the team recorded 19 victories, including one stage at the Giro d’Italia (Jan Polanc) and one at the Vuelta a España (Matej Mohoric).

For Dubai, look out for the Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff, in his first season in the UAE Team Emirates jersey, and the Italian puncheur Diego Ulissi.

UCI PROFESSIONAL CONTINENTAL TEAMS

AQUA BLUE SPORT – IRL

Ireland’s first UCI Professional Continental Cycling Team, set up by businessman Rick Delaney, made its debut in the 2017 season and won four races, including a Vuelta a España stage with the Austrian Stefan Denifl.

For Dubai look out for the English Adam Blythe and the American Larry Warbasse.

Adam Blythe

COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS – FRA

Founded in France in 1996, last year this UCI Professional Continental team recorded 13 wins. Seven of those were thanks to the 27-year-old sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, who will be included in the 2018 Dubai Tour roster.

RALLY CYCLING – USA

Founded in the US in 2008, Rally Cycling recorded 19 victories last year; most of them on the American or Canadian race circuits. 2018 sees Rally Cycling make its debut in Dubai.

TEAM NOVO NORDISK – USA

This global sports team made up entirely from athletes with diabetes comprises more than 100 cyclists, triathletes and runners from 20 countries, and is spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, based in the US.

Founded in 2005 by Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge, Team Novo Nordisk’s mission is to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes.

The cycling team has amassed more than 30 victories since 2008.

WILIER TRIESTINA – SELLE ITALIA – ITA

Founded in 2008, the team managed by Angelo Citracca has an interesting palmares, including four stage wins at the Giro d’Italia.

Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia recorded 18 wins last year, 14 of them with the Italian sprinter Jakub Mareczko.

Jakub Mareczko

UCI CONTINENTAL TEAM

MITCHELTON-BIKEEXCHANGE – CHN

This Chinese-licensed team was set up last year as a Mitchelton-Scott development team and recorded eight wins during the 2017 season.

SPECIAL GUEST TEAM

UAE National Selection – UAE

A special team of riders representing the Emirates will be a big draw for the local supporters and ensure that the highest-calibre Middle-Eastern racers rub shoulders with the best cyclists in the world at the Dubai Tour.

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