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The one and only world tour race in the Middle East. Hot racing in the sand! With a lot of sprinting, two MTT, and an ITT.
Last year it was Evenepoel who held on to snatch the overall over Adam Yates. Yates seems to be in good form, just fresh from winning Tour of Oman.

Notable GC mentions: Adam Yates, McNulty, Van Wilder, Rubio, O'Connor, Calter, Carr
Notable sprinters: Kooij, Groenewegen, Merlier, Jakobsen, Cavendish, Viviani



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Live video stream available on Eurosport/GCN alternative.

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Full startlist (not yet final):
 
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Stage 1»Al Dhafra Walk Madinat Zayed›Liwa Palace(143km)

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Stage 2 (ITT)»Al Hudayriyat Island›Al Hudayriyat Island(12.1km)


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Stage 3»Al Marjan Island›Jebel Jais(176km)




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Stage 4»Dubai Police Officer's Club›Dubai Harbour(173km)




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Stage 5»Al Aqah›Umm Al Quwain(182km)




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Stage 6»Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum›Abu Dhabi Breakwater(138km)




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Stage 7 (Final)»Al Ain›Jebel Hafeet(161km)




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Why doesn't the best Belgian, Remco, not want to defend his title?
He sent his stunt double.

It has been said by riders and trainers that riding the UAE Tour actually worsens your form instead of improving it. Last year De Gendt said that was the reason for his strange long range attack, because riding in the peloton was too easy. People probably thought he was kidding, but he wasn't, or at least it's been echoed that this is indeed the case. Evenepoel also mentioned it before Algarve, that that is the reason why they chose Algarve.

It's also the reason why he wants Van Wilder to go in his place, because Van Wilder is so good, and Evenepoel hopes he will come back from UAE Tour, worse than him. So we will see, if Van Wilder doesn't win here, then the theory is proven to be effective and UAE Tour actually does make you worse!

The previous paragraph may or may not have been entirely serious.
 
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Was he being serious, or was it said in a more joking manner?
I think this is explained in the next paragraph of the post...
So, Evenepoel did say that about Algarve (them riding because it is a race where you improve your form instead of the opposite... he didn't mention UAE doing the opposite i think, but it was clearly implied Actually he did flat out say it "In de Emiraten moet je al bijna in topvorm aan de start staan, want je hebt er een soort van vormverlies"). The part about him wanting Van Wilder to go there was just (clearly) a (bad) joke by me. Sorry to disappoint.