Chris Froome to make Israel Start-Up Nation debut at UAE Tour 2021 

The Middle East stage race is scheduled to be the first WorldTour event of the year  

Chris Froome (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chris Froome is set headline the 2021 UAE Tour, his first race for Israel Start-Up Nation. 

After the cancellation of the Tour Down Under due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE Tour is scheduled to be the first WorldTour race of the season, as big name riders start their campaigns.  

Froome will be making his Israel Start-Up Nation debut in the Emirates, having transferred from Ineos Grenadiers at the end of 2020. 

The UAE Tour, a seven-stage race that takes in each of the seven United Arab Emirates, runs from February 21 to February 27, and is a popular early season race for WorldTour pros. 

Last year’s edition was cut short after a coronavirus outbreak among the teams, the first time the virus hit the cycling world, as Adam Yates was crowned winner. 

The organisers have announced that the 2021 edition will feature Chris Froome, 2020 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). 

Star sprinters will also be racing, including Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

This year will be Froome’s second time lining up in the UAE Tour, after his debut last season.  

The 2020 edition was Froome’s first race after his serious crash in the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné. 

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He had been scheduled to race the 2019 edition, but eventually pulled out due to fatigue after an intense period of racing in Colombia early in the year. 

This year he has joined the Israeli WorldTour team and will race alongside the likes of Dan Martin and Mike Woods.

Froome has not yet released his full schedule for 2021, saying it is still up in the air due to coronavirus, but he has said it will be designed to prepare for this year’s Tour de France, where he hopes to make a comeback and win his fifth yellow jersey.  

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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.