Pre Race Press: What the riders said ahead of the UAE Tour

Written by: Felix Mattis
Posted 3 months ago

On a windy afternoon in the United Arabic Emirates some of the best riders in the peloton gathered on Hudayriyat Island in Abu Dhabi for the obligatory pre race press conference of the 2024 UAE Tour Women. So here is what they had to say before letting their legs do the talking in the upcoming four days through the desert and into huge cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as up the infamous Jebel Hafeet:

Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl – Trek): “Last year, it was a special edition of this race for me as it was the first one and I was able to win it. Moreover, crossing the line of Jebel Hafeet along with my team mate Gaia Realini and celebrate together was a memorable moment. My winter went quite ok, it’s interesting to be back racing after several months. I’m fine and healthy now, I don’t know how my body will react but I’m looking forward to be back in the peloton. Lidl – Trek is very strong here to support Clara Copponi in the sprints and Gaia Realini on GC. We have helpers who can be very good in the wind. I’m an all-rounder, I’ll look for opportunities if I have the legs and I’m here for helping the team.”

Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx): “Being the World Champion means a lot to me. It’s special to go training every day with the rainbow but now I’m looking forward to racing here and the classics in Belgium. We can have a lot of scenarios this week if the wind blows like today. We have a strong lead out for Lorena [Wiebes]. I’m not yet in Tour de France shape but overall it’s important to race here to inspire women, young children and even old people”.

Lorena Wiebes (Team SD Worx): “I realised at Al Mirfa last year that it’s quite important to win one of the first sprints of the season, after that you can take it a bit easy and the pressure is off, so I’ll try again to get a stage here this year. It’s a dream to wear the leader jersey after stage 1 but my goal is to win a maximum of sprints. Chiara Consonni is here, unfortunately we’ll miss Charlotte Kool, I was looking forward to racing her here, Georgia Baker, Letizia Paternoster, Clara Copponi… they’re my rivals this week”.

Unfortunately we'll miss Charlotte Kool this week

Alison Jackson (EF Education-Cannondale)“2023 was a big year for me. I received a lot of attention after I won Paris-Roubaix but my goal always remains to win bike races. The UAE Women Tour is part of the career plan. We started the season with the Mallorca races, where we got onto the podium every day, so we hope to take the same team atmosphere here, we’ve worked on the lead-out train to get to that stage win we’re looking for”.

Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ): “It’s really special to celebrate this country with our team. We’re here to inspire women from the UAE. They follow us all year. The UAE Tour is good for them to understand what is cycling. We’ll race with a new jersey especially released for this race, with the flag of this country. It’s an important race and an important challenge for women to start biking here. I was third last year, my dream is to do better. I hope we’ll win the UAE Tour and do our best to represent this country”.

Mavi Garcia (LIV AlUla Jayco): “It’s my first time here in the UAE and in this race. I want to do my best in my attacking role, although it’s a bit different here. Three out of four stages are flat, stage 3 is my chance to attack for the overall win. In our team, we have Georgia Baker who is a good sprinter, there are good opportunities for Letizia Paternoster and the team intends to stick together, me included, in the first stage”.

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