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Men’s UAE Tour 2023 – Contenders and predictions – Rouleur

Men's UAE Tour 2023 - Contenders and predictions – Rouleur

The fifth edition of the UAE Tour kicks off on the February 20, 2023 and there is a stacked list of talent planning to take to the start line. Remco Evenepoel is the headline act in his world champion’s jersey, but he will be challenged for overall victory by the likes of Adam Yates and Pello Bilbao. Stages three and seven will be crucial for those targeting the general classification victory as the peloton ascend both the Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet climbs, but a team time trial on stage two could also end up being a deciding factor of the overall race winner.

However, the UAE Tour isn’t just about the general classification competition, it’s a race that also is important to the sprinters of the peloton. The wide, flat roads of the UAE are the perfect stage for hectic bunch kicks and there are four stages in the race which should give the fast men a chance to shine. All eyes will be on the likes of Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett and Dylan Groenewegen to see who has dialled in their sprint and lead out trains over the winter and we can expect some furious battles for victory.

Here are they key contenders and our prediction for the winner of the 2023 men’s UAE Tour.

Remco Evenepoel

It’s of little surprise that world champion Remco Evenepoel sits at the very top of the list of favourites to take victory at the 2023 men’s UAE Tour. The 23-year-old Belgian prodigy has taken the cycling world by storm in the last couple of years, winning the Vuelta a España, the Tour of Norway, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, San Sebastian and that coveted rainbow jersey in 2022 alone. Evenepoel is incredibly well-suited to the punchy and long climbs that he will face in the UAE Tour and he will be targeting stages three and seven to make his moves on both the Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet climbs. The team time trial on stage two of the race will also be crucial for Evenepoel’s GC ambitions and his Soudal – Quick-Step team have a good chance of doing well here with a number of riders in their line-up that will excel on the flat TTT course.

Evenepoel has already raced once this season at the Vuelta a San Juan Internacional where he finished in seventh place. Many people, including Evenepoel himself, would likely have been expecting more from the world champion in San Juan, but his tactical error on the race’s queen stage to Alto Colorado put Evenepoel’s GC hopes at that race out of the window. Evenepoel admitted after the stage that he’d made…

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