We have had to watch Chris Froome competitively for a long time now. In reality, eight months after a horrific crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné last year he had undercut and undergone lengthy recovery, causing him to look at him in distance as teammate Egan Bernal won the Tour de France leading the team together with Geraint Thomas in his absence.
With both riders doing so well, Froome must know what he can do to the squad. His goal is to win a fifth yellow jersey in the Tour de France but, starting from this week’s UAE Tour, he will need to show some form in the event, to lead the team.
Although it has been a long time since Froome took part, it’s been years since its last victory–for what the Brit won under such spectacular conditions you have to go back to the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
After a long absence, he now hits 35 and will have an equally impressive return as he has seen in the race his fate shift if he is to have a realistic chance of winning the Tour in July.
In this part of the world there are not many mountains, but sprinters will have plenty of opportunity to compete for weekly stage wins.
All stages are dead for sprinting finishings as two straight sprint stages of the same look on Friday and Saturday are rare, whereas the main GC stages are held early in the race instead.
In 2020, the most powerful line-up of quick finishers will be assembled. All of these returns, including Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), Arnaud Démare(Groupama-FDJ) and Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren), will be taken by Sam Bennett(Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), and Fernando Gaviria(UAE Team Emirates) each year in lesser year’s edition.
Last year all sprinters made little choice: four riders claimed a win of one stage each–a pattern that would go on for the rest of the saison. Will this time one driver be the best?
The most attractive and unusual feature of the UAE Tour this year is that the two major GC races are finishing on the same mountain-Jebel Hafeet.
At the conclusion of stage III, the riders will first take up the climb, before returning two days later, which is expected to be the deciding day for the victory overall.