PREVIEW | UAE Tour 2024 stage 2 - GC fight kicks off; Mikkel Bjerg the main favourite for windy time-trial

Preview. Stage 2 of the UAE Tour is an individual time-trial which will open up the fight for the overall classification and will be an important day. As big favourites we have the likes of former World Champion Tobias Foss or UAE's Brandon McNulty.

Stage 2 is an Individual Time Trial that takes place entirely inside Al Hudayriyat Island. The route is very fast and is characterized only by a few right angle bends and two U-turns. The road is perfectly flat, wide and with sweeping curves, which will allow riders to maintain very high speeds (wind permitting).

PREVIEW | UAE Tour 2024 stage 2 - GC fight kicks off; Mikkel Bjerg the main favourite for windy time-trial

It is an important day for the overall classification. Before the race reaches the mountains, this day will set some order amongst the climbers, and will dictate those who have to go on the attack and those who can already race in the defensive from this moment onwards.

The Weather

map uaetour2024stage2
Map UAE Tour 2024 stage  2

Strong western wind. It can't be said that it will favour anyone as the route is a loop and fully exposed. It can mix things up though definitely, the gusts can make some riders quite uncomfortable.

The Favourites

UAE - Not only the favourites for the GC but also for this stage. Truly I expect a battle mainly between this team's riders. Mikkel Bjerg has proven himself in all distances of time-trials but in such a short and explosive effort on pan-flat roads he may have an edge over the modest competition - most competition went to the Volta ao Algarve. Ivo Oliveira can also be an interesting card, but I'd count more on the form and legs of Brandon McNulty to also fight for victory and try to get an internal advantage over Adam Yates and Jay Vine.

Tobias Foss - Foss has not looked too convincing against the clock last year where he raced with the rainbow jersey. However INEOS have, with no doubt, put in a lot of focus in the time-trials and their riders are set. I would not be surprised to see a very strong performance from the Norwegian, although you can argue that he hasn't yet had enough time to perfectly fit into the perfect position.

For victory I would not consider other riders. Unlike other years, the startlist really is modest when comparing to other years. The likes of Rémi Cavagna and Lorenzo Milesi could be interesting contenders but are in their time-trial for Movistar and new bikes. Iván Romeo of the Spanish team is another interestinf figure.

Bruno Armirail, Maikel Ziljaard, Alex Edmonson, Nikias Arndt and Ryan Mullen are all strong rouleurs who can do well in an effort like this. The likes of Ben O'Connor, Pello Bilbao and Ilan van Wilder can ocasionally ride very well against the clock and will also need to put in very good times to enter the mountains as best placed as possible against UAE.

Prediction UAE Tour 2024 stage 2:

*** Mikkel Bjerg, Brandon McNulty
** Tobias Foss
* Ivo Oliveira, Jay Vine, Rémi Cavagna, Lorenzo Milesi, Bruno Armirail, Pello Bilbao, Ilan van Wilder

Pick: Mikkel Bjerg

Preview written by Rúben Silva.

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