Was just surveing TA and PN routes. I'd have thought the Italian stage race, given he's going to the Giro in May, would have been on his program. Although I really like the PN parcours more, which has better mountains and what appears a kind of Liege stage. I'd only have preferred an ITT over a TTT, but I guess you can't have it all. However, especially now that Pogacar isn't doing UAE, going to the Middle East seems like a waste of time. By contrast doing TA would be better preparation for the Giro, whereas a PN ride could be nice for Liege. At any rate, either race would be a more prestigious addition to his palmarès (naturally if he were able to win), particularly if other GT Bigs like Vingegaard were present. I get they want to keep the race program lighter, focusing on altitude camps to get him ready for his major goals. However, I can't see how substituting TA or PN for UAE Tour would change the scenario much.
In hindsight, I'd have scratched San Juan. What did it serve other than getting smoked on Alto de Colorado? There wasn't even a TT to measure himself against Ganna, who will be the main TT rival at the Giro, unlike Tirreno, which initiates with the traditional Tuscan coastal drag race. I'd also only have done UAE Tour with the effective presence of Pogacar, but you can't predict last minute pulling outs, as a warm-up for either TA or PN. Last year Tadej did UAE Tour then Strade Bianche, which he dominated, then Tirreno, which he also crushed, and then we saw how he went in Flanders. Unfortunately he was not able to take the start at Liege, but presumably he would have also been very competitive there too, had he participated.
So let me get this straight. Now Evenepoel does a gimped UAE Tour, misses all the fun at TA or PN, to then participate next at Liege before the Giro, with a couple of altitude camps in between? Is that correct? Can I say I don't like it? Evidently they know what they are doing, but could they not have sent him with some doms some place warm in the mountains in late Jan. to mid-Feb. before UAE-Tirreno (or PN), then back to altitude in early April, during the cobbled classics, to come down for Liege and afterwords the final mini-altitudine camp before taking the start of the Corsa Rosa as planned? Does this not seem a wholly more attractive schedule, better in the preparation periods both competition wise and for the racing parcours/environments? My two cents.