Race: Dubai Tour (January 31-February 4, 2017)
Country: United Arab Emirates
Total Distance: 865 kilometers
Race Class: 2.HC
Team Novo Nordisk is slated to make its third appearance at the Dubai Tour with a strong sprinter’s roster when the five-day race kicks off on Tuesday.
“The Dubai Tour is an amazing race with huge visibility and perfect terrain. Race organizers added one more stage this year to make it longer and more challenging. It adds to our confidence going into this race with several years of experience,” Team Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President of Athletics Vassili Davidenko said. “We are aiming for top 10s with Andrea [Peron] and hope to see good results from our neo-pro, Quentin [Valognes] in the sprint finishes. Charles [Planet] and Joonas [Henttala] are hungry to have strong overall showings, and I expect to see the rest of our riders fighting to make breakaways.”
Following a 10-day training camp in Spain, Team Novo Nordisk heads to Dubai with an eight-man squad that features both experienced veterans and two neo-pros. Team Novo Nordisk’s squad includes Stephen Clancy (IRL), Gerd de Keijzer (NED), Joonas Henttala (FIN), Andrea Peron (ITA), Charles Planet (FRA), Umberto Poli (ITA), Quentin Valognes (FRA) and Chris Williams (FRA). Poli and Valognes will be making their official debuts in the pro peloton; Valognes raced as a stagiaire at the end of the 2016 season.
“This race is perfect for Quentin’s sprinting abilities, and it is a strong race for Umberto to make his debut,” Davidenko said. “Both riders’ dedication and hard work are vital for the team’s success at Dubai Tour. Teamwork is the key to getting results.”
Twenty-five-year-old Henttala is racing his second Dubai Tour and said it is the ideal early season race to kick off the year.
“I’m looking forward to returning to the Dubai Tour later this month. In my opinion, I think it is the perfect race to start the season,” Henttala said. “The level of the field is high, and the profiles are well designed for an early season race. There are plenty of opportunities for the breakaway and for our sprinters. We are all eager to race well and inspire the people in the UAE affected by diabetes.”
In its fourth edition, the Dubai Tour is a 2.HC UCI race where every stage of the 865-kilometer race begins at the Dubai International Marine Club. Ten of the 16 teams invited to this year’s race are World Tour squads.
The profile is similar to previous editions with most stages taking place within the urban sections of Dubai and designed for the sprinters, yet Stage 4 features an uphill finish on the Hatta Dam. The first and final stages end in the heart of Dubai in front of notable landmarks such as the Palm Jumeirah and City Walk Dubai. The race begins Tuesday, January 31 with a 181-kilometer stage that starts at the Dubai International Marine Club and finishes on the Palm Jumeirah.
Team Novo Nordisk Roster Dubai Tour (January 31-February 4):
Stephen Clancy (Ireland), Gerd de Keijzer (Netherlands), Joonas Henttala (Finland), Andrea Peron (Italy), Charles Planet (France), Umberto Poli (Italy), Quentin Valognes (France), Chris Williams (France)
Sport Director: Vassili Davidenko (USA), Massimo Podenzana (ITA)