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All WorldTour teams commit to race UAE Tour

The February stage race was the first WorldTour event impacted by COVID-19 one year ago.

All 19 WorldTour teams say they will race next month’s UAE Tour slated for February 21-27.

A full parcours and roster details will be confirmed shortly, officials said, but the route of the seven-day race is already set.

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Last year, the race was engulfed by the widening coronavirus pandemic, and riders and teams were briefly quarantined before being allowed to leave in what was a precursor of what was to come for the rest of the world.

A year later, officials are pushing ahead with the third edition of the UAE Tour, and all 19 of the WorldTour teams, as well as the top-ranked UCI ProTeam in 2020 Alpecin-Fenix, have confirmed they will race.

Officials said details of COVID-19 protocols designed to ensure the safety of riders, staff, and everyone involved in the race will be released shortly.

With cancelations of the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the UAE Tour will open the men’s 2021 UCI WorldTour calendar. The women’s WorldTour commences with Strade Bianche in Italy in March.

Worsening health conditions have raised worries in Europe, where the Mallorca Challenge in Spain has already decided to postpone its late January dates until May. Vuelta a Murcia officials told Ciclo21 this week it is closely watching health conditions, and said a postponement for its February dates could be in the cards.

Most teams are currently decamped along Spain’s Mediterranean coast to prepare for the 2021 season with the expectation of racing as soon as next month. Peloton insiders are hopeful the “race bubble” concepts introduced in 2020 will help convince health and government leaders that racing can commence with lessened risk.

The UAE-Emirates team is already in the Middle Eastern country for a pre-season training camp, and riders and staffers were vaccinated for COVID-19.