While the 2024 Women’s WorldTour began last month at the Tour Down Under in Australia and carried into the Cadel Evans Road Race in early February, some teams and riders did not make the trip to the southern hemisphere and have not yet toed the start lines at the top-tier of women’s racing, and or them, the UAE Tour Women will mark the beginning of their road racing season.
The four-day will take place from February 8-12, routed across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and while this is a sprinters’ paradise, there is one defining GC moment atop Jebel Hafeet.
Cyclingnews highlights a few of the biggest talking points ahead of the UAE Tour Women.
Expect an unstoppable SD Worx
One of the biggest storylines to watch in the new season will be how the major women’s teams shake up to dominance of the all-powerful SD Worx in 2024.
The UAE Tour marks the all-powerful team’s first road race of the season, and it is somewhat of a test to themselves as much as their rival teams to see if a change of rosters, tactics, and strengths has changed the landscape and the inner workings of the women’s peloton compared to last year.
SD Worx had an outstanding season last year with 62 victories and many 1-2 performances that added an element of depth to the team. We can expect that the team will dominate in a similar fashion at the UAE Tour simply because they line up with the peloton’s fastest sprinter, Lorena Wiebes, and biggest wildcard World Champion, Lotte Kopecky.
These two riders alone seem to feed off of each other’s success, ultimate teammates both capable of winning bunch sprints, breakaway sprints, and solo. But they are not the only two in the mix; they have a strong lead-out rider in Barbara Guarischi and look to Femke Markus and Femke Gerritse to create opportunities.
Kool and Wiebes to clash in the sprints
The UAE Tour is only in its second edition, but from what we saw in the first edition and with little to no changes to the route, we can expect to see a head-to-head battle in the sprints between Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx).
Three flat stages mean three chances for fans to watch this battle of the two most powerful sprinters in their early season debuts in Dubai Harbour, Madinat Zayed…