Patrick Bevin will line up for his first race since the Santos Tour Down Under when he lines up for the second World Tour stage race on the calendar, the UAE Tour on Sunday. Bevin will line up with GC ambitions on his mind for the week-long stage race.
The Santos Tour Down Under was almost the dream start to the season for Patrick Bevin. Victory in stage 2 of the race saw him take the leader’s ochre jersey which he then went on to defend all the way through the penultimate stage. It was on the road to Stathalbyn that disaster struck for his GC aspirations though as a nasty crash resulted in a battered and bruised Bevin unable to hold on to win the Tour the following day on Willunga Hill. The Kiwi came away with the win in the points classification but for many watching there was also a sense of what might have been.
Since then Bevin has been battling his way back to full fitness again and finally he’s ready to pin a number on again after just over a month away from racing.
Returning to racing will kick off with a team time trial 16km in length before stages three, four and six provide stern climbing challenges that include the ascent of Jebel Hafeet in stage 4 and Jebel Jais in stage 6.
Heading into the race Bevin is curious to see what he can produce in terms of performances in the UAE Tour. “After the highs and lows of the Tour Down Under, I’m itching to start racing again. It took some time to shake off my injuries from the crash but I think I have managed them pretty well and I’m starting to get back to where I want to be. It will be good to see what I can do here,” Bevin said in a team statement.
“We will immediately be able to gauge how the team is going with the team time trial on stage one. The first TTT of the year can always bring some surprises, and with a full World Tour team line-up, it will be a tough challenge but, we will use it as a way of testing ourselves ahead of the rest of the race.”
Sports Director Jackson Stewart has said that Bevin will be the team’s focus for the GC, although the team’s strength in depth gives them options. “Overall, we will head to the UAE Tour with a well-rounded team. We will focus on the sprints with Jakub Mareczko, who has shown great potential already this year, and then I think Patrick Bevin, who is coming back to strong form after his crash in Australia, could once again produce a good result in the General Classification. However, we will have a versatile line-up with Victor de la Parte, Alessandro de Marchi, Lukasz Owsian, Serge Pauwels and Joey Rosskopf joining Bevin and Mareczko so I think we can make the most of every opportunity.”
Also expected to take to the start line are the likes of World Champion Alejandro Valverde of Movistar, Bahrain Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali, Sam Bennett of BORA-Hansgrohe, Elia Viviani and Remco Evenepoel of Deceuninck-Quick Step, Caleb Ewan of Lotto Soudal, the New Zealand pairing of Sam Bewley and Jack Bauer of Mitchelton-SCOTT, Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data, Primož Roglič of Jumbo-Visma, Marcel Kittel of Katusha-Alpecin, Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb and Richie Porte of Trek-Segafredo in what is a very stacked field.
Photo: credit @cauldphoto