New Beginnings: UAE Tour
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
It was announced earlier today that the UCI World Tour calendar will begin where its tussles with COVID-19 began, the UAE Tour. It feels a lifetime away from the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the pandemic at the 2020 UAE Tour. The idea of teams being kept in isolation, literally locked inside their hotel suites, it baffled us... how far we have come eh! Isolation is now commonplace across the world, perhaps too common for the likes of Fernando Gaviria who unfortunately had two bouts with the illness. In response to the ever-worsening situation across Europe, it is welcome news that the start of the World Tour has been scheduled.
At the end of last year, the World Tour events in Australia were cancelled for 2021, throwing into doubt the usual start of the season. It was disheartening, but completely understandable. As a result, the announcement of the UAE Tour provides fresh hope that the 2021 calendar will not be as disrupted by COVID-19 as last year's was. In the press release earlier today it was stated that further protocols to keep all attendees safe will be unveiled in due course.
All 19 World Tour teams are scheduled to be attending, with the further addition of Mathieu van Der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix. Taking place from 21st to 27th February, it will be the fans first opportunity to see new kits, teams, equipment and signings. With last year's showdown between Tadej Pogacar and Adam Yates (eventual winner of the 2020 edition) cut short, the prospect of another battle between them is certainly exciting, if they are both to take the start line. Whilst no announcements have been made as of yet regarding team lineups, it would be an extraordinary shock were Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar not to be involved, given his team's sponsorship by the UAE state. Whatever the line ups ultimately are, to have road racing back will surely raise a smile for all cycling fans.