Top cycling stars confirm for Dubai Tour 2018

By Divi S.

DUBAI 4 February 2018: 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 in Dubai this week, competing for honours in the fifth edition of the Dubai Tour, which 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 of the 2018 Dubai Tour, which is organised by Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sports and Events DMCC.

Key Riders:

Marcel Kittel (GER – Katusha Alpecin): Born on 11 May 1988 in Arnstadt, Germany, and a professional rider since 2011, Kittel’s palmares includes 86 victories, with eight stages at the Dubai Tour and the last two years’ general classification (Blue Jersey) and point classification (Red Jersey) along with 19 Grand Tour stage wins (four at the Giro d’Italia, 14 at the Tour de France – five of them being in the 2017 edition – and one at the Vuelta a España).

Mark Cavendish (British Isles – Team Dimension Data): Cavendish was born on 21 May 1985 in Douglas, Isle of Man (British Isles). “Cav” has won 15 stages at the Giro d’Italia, a mighty 30 at the Tour de France, and three at the Vuelta a España. In 2011, in Copenhagen (Denmark), he became UCI Road World Champion, and boasts one-day-race successes such as Milano-Sanremo (2009) and the National Road Race Championships. In 2016 Mark won the gold medal with Bradley Wiggins in the Madison at the Track World Championships; he took the opening stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish at Utah Beach and put on the maillot jaune for the first time; then he won the silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games in the Omnium. Cavendish won two stages and the overall victory at the 2015 Dubai Tour.

Alexander Kristoff (NOR – UAE Team Emirates): Kristoff, born 5 July 1987, is current UEC European Road Champion and his biggest victories are the 2014 Milan-Sanremo and the 2015 Tour of Flanders. His palmares includes two stage at the 2014 Tour de France and two national Road Race Championships (2007 and 2011). At the last year’s UCI World Road Championship in Bergen, the Norwegian finished second behind Peter Sagan.

Elia Viviani (ITA – Team Sky): Viviani, born 7 February 1989, is one of the most accomplished sprinters in the peloton, having claimed 50 victories since turning pro in 2010. As well as being a talented road rider, Elia also has an admirable record on the track: five gold medals in the European Track Championships (Points Race in 2012 and 2013, Madison in 2014, Omnium in 2014 and 2015) and, in 2016, the gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games in the Omnium. In 2015 and in 2016 he won the Dubai Tour second stage and wore the Blue Jersey as leader of the GC. Last year’s wins include the Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France, the Cyclassics Hamburg. Elia has already claimed a victory in 2018; stage three at the Santos Tour Down Under.

John Degenkolb (GER – Trek-Segafredo): Degenkolb, a puncheur from Gera, Germany (born on 7 January 1989), has won the Milano-Sanremo (2015), Paris-Roubaix (2015), Paris-Tours (2013), Gent-Wevelgem (2014) one-day races and a stage at the Giro d’Italia (2013), along with 10 stage victories at the Vuelta a España. “Dege” won the Hatta Stage of the 2015 edition of the Dubai Tour, wearing the Blue Jersey, and the third stage at last year’s Dubai Tour, finishing second overall on GC.

Dylan Groenewegen (NED – Team Lotto NL-Jumbo): Groenewegen is a sprinter from Amsterdam, Netherlands, born on 21 June 1993. His 21 pro wins palmares includes two stages at the Tour of Norway, two at the Tour of Britain and the final stage at the 2017 Tour de France. Last year in Dubai the Dutch sprinter featured on the podium every stage and finished third in the General Classification behind Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.

Nacer Bouhanni (FRA – Cofidis, Solutions Credits): Bouhanni, born 25 July 1990 in Épinal, France, has 59 victories since he turned pro in 2010, including three stages and the Point Classification Jersey at the 2014 Giro d’Italia, two at the Vuelta a España and three at Paris-Nice.

Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Bahrain Merida): Nibali, born in Messina, Italy, 14 November 1984, is one of the greatest ever all rounders, being one of only six cyclists who have won all three Grand Tours: the Vuelta a España in 2010, the Giro d’Italia in both 2013 and 2016 and the Tour de France in 2014. Lo Squalo – the Shark’s – other achievements include two editions of the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, the 2016 Tour of Oman, and two editions of the Giro di Lombardia. Last year saw two prestigious podiums for Nibali, third at the Giro d’Italia (behind Tom Dumoulin and Nairo Quintana) and second at the Vuelta a España (behind Chris Froome).