UAE Tour ‘first real climbing test’ for Chris Froome

After supporting team-mates in Colombia, Froome is set to start as leader in the Middle East

Chris Froome lines up at the UAE Tour after racing in Colombia (Photo by Maximiliano Blanco/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

UPDATE: Chris Froome pulls out of UAE Tour 

Chris Froome will face his ‘first real climbing test’ at the inaugural UAE Tour, according to the Team Sky sports director for the race.

The Brit lines up at the Middle East stage race after riding in support of his team at the Tour Colombia.

Froome didn’t feature as a contender in South America, but Sky DS for the UAE Tour Matteo Tosatto said the race will be an important step for the 33-year-old.

Tosatto told Cycling Weekly: “It’s really important for Chris, possibly the first real climbing test for him.

“Chris is very happy for the UAE because it’s a different format for the race from the last two or three years.

“It’s a nice race. The weather is better for Chris and for the team the first stage, the TTT, is perfect.

“The plan is for Chris to start as the leader and wait day by day, but it’s an important first stage. We’ll look to do a good performance.”

Sky are sending a team of seven powerhouses to the only WorldTour race in the Middle East to support Froome.

Michał Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, Salvatore Puccio, Pavel Sivakov, Kristoffer Halvorsen and Michał Gołas will all be riding.

>>> UAE Tour 2019 live TV guide

Froome finished 91st overall in Colombia, but Sky played a major role in the race regardless.

New signing Ivan Sosa finished second overall and second on the final stage behind Nario Quintana (Movistar), with Colombian compatriot Egan Bernal in fourth on GC.

The new format of the UAE Tour, an amalgamation of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours, has attracted an outstanding field of Grand Tour contenders and sprinters.

An opening team time trial in the UAE, will appeal to outfits looking ahead to the TTT at the Tour de France, while the two mountain finishes will be an appealing test for climbers in the early season.

Froome will be racing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Tosatto added: “Looking at the teams at the start, they’re big names. It’s a big race. It’s very important for the team.

“The big names for the race are some of the best. It makes it more of a show, more spectacular.

“All teams will be going for the win.”

The UAE Tour starts on Sunday, February 24 and finishes on Saturday, March 2.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.