WorldTour racing returns this week, with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) set for a sprinting showdown with his biggest rivals at the Abu Dhabi Tour, which rolls out on Wednesday February 21.
A mixed parcours for the expanded five-day race, split into two distinct sections – sprint stages on the first three days and GC stages in the form of a time trial and summit finish on the final two – has attracted a heavyweight line-up of riders.
Some – such as Cavendish and his fellow sprinting heavyweights – are back in the United Arab Emirates for the second time this year, having already taken on the Dubai Tour.
The Manx Missile won a stage of that race, and will resume his sprinting rivalry with Dubai Tour winner Elia Viviani (QuickStep Floors), German heavyweights Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott), among others.
Then attention will turn to the general classification, with Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) kicking off his season, and in-form veteran Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) among the riders to beat.
Let’s take a closer look at the route and riders to watch…