Team Novo Nordisk Motivated for Results at Abu Dhabi Tour
14 February 2018
Race: Abu Dhabi Tour
Country: United Arab Emirates
Total Distance: 686.8 kilometers
Race Class: WT
Fresh off a successful Dubai Tour, Team Novo Nordisk returns to the UAE take on the Abu Dhabi Tour when it kicks off at the Madinat Zayed Edu Complex on Wednesday, February 21st. The Abu Dhabi Tour serves as Team Novo Nordisk’s first World Tour race of the season.
“At the Dubai Tour, we won the race’s overall UAE Intermediate Sprint jersey, took two top 10 finishes, and placed a rider in the breakaway on every stage. It is clear that the team’s off-season winter training went well and the riders’ overall form is better than last year,” said Team Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President of Athletics Vassili Davidenko. “Our riders have made strong overall improvements, and we are ready for our next target and to show the world what is possible when racing with diabetes.”
The world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team’s roster includes Sam Brand (GBR), Romain Gioux (FRA), Joonas Henttala (FIN), David Lozano (ESP), Andrea Peron (ITA), Charles Planet (FRA) and Rik van IJzendoorn (NED).
Both Peron and Planet had standout performances at the Dubai Tour. Peron scored two top 10 sprint finishes while Planet starred in two breakaways and finished with the race’s front group up the Hatta Dam.
Brand, Gioux and van IJzendoorn are all making their Abu Dhabi Tour race debuts. The Abu Dhabi Tour serves as Brand’s first official pro race after competing as a stagiaire with Team Novo Nordisk last fall.
“We are going into the Abu Dhabi Tour with a day-by-day race strategy that will prioritize breakaways and intermediate sprints,” said Davidenko. “Andrea and Charles both had strong showings at the Dubai Tour, and we will continue to aim for top position in the final sprints and climbs.”
The fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour is primarily a sprinter’s race. Stage 4 is a newly added 11.8-kilometer individual time trial on Al Maryah Island, while the race culminates with an 11-km mountain top finish up Jebel Hafeet with gradients of 11 percent. Eighteen World Tour teams will line up for the start along with three professional continental squads.
In his sixth season with Team Novo Nordisk, Spaniard David Lozano will be racing his second Abu Dhabi Tour. The 11-time Spanish national champion in mountain-bike and cyclocross shows his strengths on the climbs so he’ll be focused on the Jabel Hafeet stage.
“While this will be my first race of the season, I’m heading into the Abu Dhabi Tour feeling confident of my form. My numbers are better where they were last year, and I have more experience racing at this level,” said Lozano. “I enjoy racing at the World Tour level because the racing is more controlled. My goals for the Abu Dhabi Tour are to spend a day in the break and do my best on the final climb.”
The Abu Dhabi Tour starts on Wednesday with a 189-km race that runs entirely through the desert, begins and ends in Madinat Zayed and should end with a bunch sprint.
Team Novo Nordisk Roster Abu Dhabi Tour (Feb 21-Feb 25):
- Sam Brand (GBR)
- Romain Gioux (FRA)
- Joonas Henttala (FIN)
- David Lozano (ESP)
- Andrea Peron (ITA)
- Charles Planet (FRA)
- Rik van IJzendoorn (NED)
Sport Directors: Vassili Davidenko (USA), Massimo Podenzana (Italy).