Cycling News

Men’s WorldTour resumes with Canadian Michael Leonard racing in the UAE

Canada's Michael Leonard debuts for Ineos at Etoile de Bessèges

After a three-week recess, the WorldTour resumes on Monday with the UAE Tour. Ineos Grenadiers’ Canadian Michael Leonard will contest his second career WorldTour stage race from February 19 to 25.

Last October Leonard made his WorldTour debut in the first running of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi in China since 2019, where he was 72nd. So far this season he has two DNFs in Spanish one-day races.

Leonard (left) with teammate Ben Tulett in last February’s Etoile de Besseges.

The sixth UAE Tour is a mix of sprint stages–One, Four, Five and Six–a Stage 2 time trial, and two days that end with summit finishes. Long, moderately steep Jebel Jais awaits the riders at the end of Stage 3, and the better-known, more difficult Jebel Hafeet concludes the whole affair on February 25.

The GC favourite is the 2020 champion who has twice been runner-up and finished on the podium last year, Adam Yates. Yates already won the Tour of Oman this month. Yates’ competition might come from his American teammate Brandon McNulty, who has also already tallied a 2024 stage race title, the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain. Yates and McNulty have a strong teammate in Jay Vine. The UAE-Emirates riders will be wary of Pello Bilbao of Bahrain-Victorious and Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale’s Aussie Ben O’Connor, winner of the one-day Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia.

Sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, Kaden Groves, Olav Kooij, Sam Bennett and Sam Welsford will relish the flat profiles, although treacherous crosswinds are always a danger in the UAE Tour.

Next Saturday the Spring Classics season opens with WorldTour race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

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