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.
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.