Dubai, UAE, March 03, 2018: UAE Team Emirates will be aiming for stage wins and the overall General Classification (GC) when they take on the iconic Paris - Nice race this week (Sunday 4 – Sunday 11 March). The team has announced one of its strongest line ups of the season and includes former World Champion and Abu Dhabi Tour 2017 winner Rui Costa, Tour de France stage winner Dan Martin and Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 stage winner, Alexander Kristoff.
The riders will be supported by seasoned pros Rory Sutherland and Ben Swift, with the young duo of Sven Erik Bystrøm and Oliviero Troia gaining valuable experience in one of the UCI World Tour's most competitive races. Sports Directors Joxean Matxin and Philippe Mauduit will guide the riders throughout the seven day race, with support from their colleague Simone Pedrazzini.
Commenting on his second appearance for UAE Team Emirates, Daniel Martin: “I'm feeling good heading to Paris-Nice. In Algarve, I had good days and bad days but it was the perfect way to get the legs and body going but also to start working with my new team mates, both riders and staff. Paris-Nice is one of the hardest races on the calendar because there is no easy day. The race can be lost every day, as we saw last year. On paper the first stages seem easier but then there is the possibility of bad weather and crosswinds. Of course the Time Trial and mountain top finish on stage seven will see the biggest time gaps and the race will likely be won there, but what makes Paris-Nice hard is the concentration and endurance to not lose the race on the other stages, but also save enough energy to be good when it counts. My place on the podium at Paris – Nice last year was my first big result, so I'm definitely back this year to contest the GC, but of course I need to survive the first days and then we will see the situation after the Time Trial.”
Commenting on what will be his fourth UAE Team Emirates appearance, Alexander Kristoff said; “There won't be many opportunities for sprint finishes and the route will be difficult each day. I'm going to try and take advantage of every opportunity I get. I'm getting into better and better shape and the victories I achieved in Oman and Abu Dhabi are motivating me. Paris-Nice will be especially useful to continue improving my fitness, as I look forward to Milano-Sanremo and the Belgian Classics.”
Riders will start in the Paris suburb of Chatou as they take to the first stage and a 135km course that sees the peloton take on three, category three climbs, one of which is the ascent finish at Meudon. Stage two will be an opportunity for the sprinters to make their mark on the race with a flat 187.5km route which could be the only stage to end in a bunched sprint finish. A gruelling 210km's awaits riders on stage three, one of the longest on the UCI World Tour, tackling three, category three climbs before arriving in Châtel-Guyon. Stage four will bring out the Time Trial specialists, whilst stage five will be the first considerable test on rider's legs. The 165km route from Salon-de-Provence to Sisteron features a category two climb, followed by a category one and then two category three climbs.
There will be no let up for riders on stage six either, as the penultimate race of the tour sees the group navigate a 198km route that favours the climb specialists, with four category two climbs and one category one climb. The final stage could provide viewers with one of the most thrilling days of riding of the season so far with the peloton set to battle a 175km route from Nice to Valdeblore La Colmiane. Any fatigued riders could be found out here, with the route featuring an early category two climb at 10km, before a category one climb at the mid-point of the race. Two category two climbs will test the riders strength, before coming into the final 10km and attacking a category one ascent finish.
UAE Team Emirates' participation on the UCI World Tour gives the local community the opportunity to come together and support world-class athletes as they aim to become one of the top cycling teams on the tour.