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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, February 22, 2019

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Team Dimension Data reports on Tour of Oman final stage

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Stage six winner Giacomo Nizzolo's Dimension Data team posted this report:

Giacomo Nizzolo claimed Team Dimension Data’s second win of the season, taking top honours at today’s final stage of the Tour of Oman. Nizzolo outsprinted fellow countrymen Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain) and Davide Ballerini (Astana). Ryan Gibbons finished in 5th.

Giacono Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo takes the final stage.

Nizzolo’s win brings a good week of racing in Oman to an end, where Team Dimension Data where part of the action the whole week with multiple strong finishes, thanks to Gibbons and Nizzolo.

After wearing the white jersey for 4 stages, Gibbons finished 5th overall in the Youth category. Jacques Janse van Rensburg was our best placed rider on the GC, finishing 12th overall with our African Team claiming 2nd place in the team competition.

Teams prepare for first edition of UAE Tour

UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

The new UAE Tour, taking the best from the former Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour, will unite the seven Emirates of the UAE and become even more challenging.

The race features a team time trial, a challenging finish to the Hatta Dam, three days for the sprinters, and two in the mountains: the traditional Jabel Jafeet finish and the new 20km Jabel Jais climb that should decide the race overall.

Dan MArtin

Dan Martin (shown at the 2018 Tour of Lombardy) will be at the first UAE Tour. Sirotti photo

“I’m truly happy to race this new event,” Dan Martin said. “It’s a beautiful nation and for the first time we can take it all in a week-long race. We have a strong team and the chance to play for the win almost every day. I went early to the UAE to preview the mountain stages. In the last race, Vuelta Valenciana, my feelings were very good. I thought of the UAE race all winter and so I hope to be able to get the best result possible.

"Clearly for our team this race has significance and we are going try to win at all costs. We have a group of strong riders coming to race, which tells you something about how important it is for us. We are going to try in every way to make an aggressive race with the hope of reaching the top of the classification.”

“Our goal is to win,” Rui Costa added. “We have three leaders for the overall classification and tactically, we can play ourselves well. It’s always great to ride on those home roads of our sponsor, it gives a certain motivation. I have good memories of 2017 when I was able to win the overall of the Abu Dhabi Tour“.

“I’m motivated and focused on this home race,” Gaviria said. “This year I began strongly in Argentina, but I was a little big suffering from a cold in Colombia, so I had to pull out after two stages. I hope to have recovered 100% to be able to aim for a stage win, which would surly please the sponsors and our management“.

Team: Rui Costa (Por), Daniel Martin (Irl), Fernando Gaviria (Col), Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Vegard Laengen (Nor), Oliviero Troia (Ita), Diego Ulissi (Ita).

Sports Directors: Joxean Fernandez Matxin (Esp), Marco Marzano (Ita), Neil Stephens (Aus).

Here's Lotto-Soudal's UAE Tour preview:

The United Arab Emirates Tour is the third WorldTour race of the year. This stage race originated from the merger between the Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour, therefore being new on the calendar. It will be contested from Sunday 24 February until Saturday 2 March. The seven-day UAE Tour will kick off with a team time trial. Apart from a few flat stages through the desert, there are also two tough uphill finishes. Lotto Soudal rider Bjorg Lambrecht and sports director Mario Aerts look ahead to this first edition.

Bjorg Lambrecht

Bjorg Lambrecht at the 2018 Fjords Tour

Bjorg Lambrecht: “This race is very similar to the Abu Dhabi Tour of 2018, but it lasts a little longer now. On paper, the course looks promising, so I think it will be a really beautiful stage race. With among others Roger Kluge and Maxime Monfort, we have a solid squad to complete the team time trial. It is not my strongest suit, but I progressed a lot by riding several team time trials last year. I am looking forward to it, because it is an important discipline. Only by practising, you can improve. We are aiming for a stage win with our leader Caleb Ewan. Sander Armée is in excellent shape as well, so we will both try to end close in the mountain stages. Furthermore, Maxime is very experienced to guide us and to put us in the right position.”

“I know the ascent of the Jebel Hafeet on the third day, because I finished thirteenth there last year. I will give my all to again do well on that climb. But of course, each year is different. I have marked three stages and my goal is to achieve a good result in at least one of them. The general classification is not a goal on its own, but it would be nice. The most important thing is to finish inside the top ten of a WorldTour race for the first time and to gain confidence towards the next races. My main goal this season is the Tour of the Basque Country. I also aim to perform well in the Walloon Classics. For such kind of finales I was not strong enough just yet last year, but currently I do feel a lot stronger.”

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The UAE Tour offers a nice course with lots of variety. Two stages have a summit finish, one on top of a steep dam, three probable bunch sprints and a team time trial. Maybe there will be a few opportunities for echelons, however this was not a crucial aspect in Abu Dhabi the past few years. We are going to see day per day and if it happens, we will have to make sure that our riders are in the right group.”

“Our absolute ambition is to take a stage win. Caleb Ewan will be our best chance of success. He could not fulfil his planned training scheme for a while, because he had his wisdom teeth removed. In the UAE Tour he will reinitiate competition, in the perspective of Milan-San Remo. We have seen in the Tour Down Under that he does not really need a lead-out train. He just has to be in a good position to start his sprint. Roger Kluge and Adam Blythe will be the most important riders to deliver him in the right wheel. When I think back to the recent years in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the build-up to the sprint can be pretty hectic sometimes. There is a very strong field of competitors as well, just think of Gaviria, Viviani or Kittel.”

“Furthermore, Bjorg Lambrecht is free to show what he is capable of in the other stages and for the general classification. Naturally, the competition is really hard, so that will not be easy. Bjorg is young and he still has a big margin of progression. His peak is also a bit later in the season. We shall see how his shape is now, compared to other top riders like Dumoulin, Kelderman and Nibali.”

Stages:

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Adam Blythe, Caleb Ewan, Adam Hansen, Roger Kluge, Bjorg Lambrecht and Maxime Monfort.

Sports director: Mario Aerts.

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