Cavendish, Bilbao, Groenewegen and Viviani confirmed for the UAE Tour

United Arab Emirates, 17 February 2023 – Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the organisers of the UAE Tour, are pleased to announce four more top riders expected to be among the protagonists in the fifth edition of the UAE Tour, taking place from 20-26 February.

Third in the GC in 2022, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain – Victorious) returns to target Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet summit finishes, whilst Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jayco Alula) and Elia Viviani (INEOS Grenadiers) are ready to battle it out for the the sprint crown.

Mark Cavendish, who joined Astana Qazaqstan Team from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team this season, is the reigning British champion and former world champion (2011), has a glittering history in the UAE, having taken seven victories in his five previous visits. His most recent win at the race was in 2022 UAE Tour, when he edged out Jasper Philipsen on the Abu Dhabi Breakwater to win Stage 2. With an impressive total of 34 Tour de France stage wins, Cavendish shares the record of all-time stage wins with cycling legend Eddy Merckx.

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish ©Astana Qazaqstan Team

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain – Victorious) returns to the UAE 12 months after securing third place in the General Classification. Bilbao’s podium finish resulted from a great performance on the Jebel Hafeet climb, where claimed the third spot behind eventual race winner Tadej Pogačar and runner-up Adam Yates. A two-time stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, Bilbao kicked off his palmares this season by winning Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under, and is now ready to show his form at the fifth edition of the UAE Tour. 

Photo LaPresse – Fabio Ferrari February 26, 2022 Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) Sport Cycling UAE Tour 2022 -MUBADALA STAGE- Stage 7 – Al Jahili Fort at Jebel Hafeet – 91 miles In the pic:Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates),Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) ,Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious)

Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jayco Alula) is just one of the many top sprinters expected to shine during the four stages which look suited to sprinters of this year’s race. The Dutchman is a five-time stage winner of the Tour de France (between 2017 to 2022), and has already had success at the UAE Tour, having won Stage 4 in 2020. This year he already has a win, taking Stage 1 of the Saudi Tour, and will now be looking for more success in  the one and only UCI WorldTour race in the Middle East.

Saudi Tour 2023 – 3rd edition – 1st stage AlUla International Airport – Khaybar 180,5 km – 30/01/2023 – Dylan Groenewegen (NED – Team Jayco AlUla) – photo Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency©2023

Elia Viviani (INEOS Grenadiers) will also be on the hunt for stage wins at this year’s race. The Italian first rode the UAE Tour in 2019, taking a stage victory and the sprinter’s green jersey as part of Deceuninck – Quick Step . Winner of the 2018 Dubai Tour, five stages at the Giro d’Italia, one stage at the Tour de France, and Olympic Champion in the omnium at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Viviani heads to the UAE to target wins in stages 1,4,5 and 6.

Vuelta a San Juan 2023 – Training Day 1 – San Juan – 20/01/2023 – Elia Viviani (ITA – INEOS Grenadiers) – photo Roberto Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency©2023