Finally a stage race for the sprinters!
Starting January 31st, the Dubai Tour will span five stages in as many days. The flatness of the United Arab Emirates terrain makes it one of the few tours where a sprinter can claim the General Classification.
The Dubai Tour may not have the unforgiving mountain stages that the European tours are known for, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. This tour possessess other challenges: unrelenting conditions including desert storms and heavy winds.
This year, some of the best sprinters will take to Dubai to start their 2017 season. Expect to see some stunning echelons, a few gutsy breakaways, and a whole lotta sprint finishes.
Here are the favorites to win in Dubai!
Odds to win the 2017 Dubai Tour General Classification:
Marcel Kittel (Team Quick-Step): 71/29
Last year’s winner is back and he’s already off to a great start. The German sprinter took the first stage of the tour without breaking a sweat. He’s got a great lead-out team in Quick-Step and in a straight sprint stage, there are only a few riders who come close to out-sprinting him. His biggest concern will be stage four, which includes a few short but steep climbs.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data): 3/1
The 2015 winner is readjusting to road cycling after spending the winter racing on the track. Since this is his first event of the season, it’s hard to gauge what kind of form he is in. He finished third in the first stage, behind Kittel and Dylan Groenewegen, so it can’t be that bad.
He’s one of the most experienced and masterful sprinters alive so he’ll be a threat regardless of the rust.
John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo): 3/1
John Degenkolb isn’t as pure a sprinter as Kittel and Cavendish, so stage four will be his moment to shine. He’s better suited to handling the climbs than the other sprinters and if they aren’t careful, the others could find themselves dropped. He came second in 2015, where he won the hill stage and almost took the overall win.
Elia Viviani (Team Sky): 23/2
Elia VIviani will have the full support of the Sky train in Dubai. He picked up a stage win in both 2015 and 2016, but failed to hold onto the lead. He’s not as well-known as some of the other sprinters in the tour, but with the full backing of Team Sky, he’s definitely a name to keep in mind.
Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): 19/1
The 23-year-old Dutch road race champion is the dark horse in Dubai. 2016 was a breakout year for Groenewegen, and he’s started 2017 with a bang, finishing second in the first stage behind Kittel. Time will show whether the youngster can compete with the best.
Photo credit: “Ahead of the peleton” by Peter Dowley, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.