UAE Team Emirates will embark on their second UCI World Tour season this week, heading to Australia as the team tackle the Santos Tour Down Under from 16th – 21st January.
Dubai, UAE, January 14, 2018: Representing the UAE colours and making his Santos Tour Down Under debut, is former World Champion, Rui Costa, alongside teammates Matteo Bono, Simone Consonni, Roberto Ferrari, Marco Marcato, Manuele Mori and Diego Ulissi, the latter producing some of the strongest displays for UAE Team Emirates in the team's 2017 debut season.
The Santos Tour Down Under was first staged in 1999 and became a prestigious UCI World Tour event in 2008 becoming the first race to be staged outside of cycling's traditional European home. This year marks the 20th anniversary for the race, now synonymous with riders looking to get their campaign off to a winning start and pick up the seasons' first honours.
Spectators can expect to see competitive rides, especially from sprint specialists who may look to make an early season statement and take advantage of the flatter roads across the opening two stages. Stage One's 145km route begins in the historic Port Adelaide before riders head north on the Port River Expressway to the finish in Lyndoch. Stage Two, a 148.6km race through the Adelaide Hills will see the peloton navigate three laps of the leafy suburb of Stirling before what could be a bunched sprint finish. Stages Three (146.5km), Four (128.2km) and Five (151.5km) will draw out the climb specialists, who will contest each stages' Category One climb in a bid to be crowned the Subaru King of the Mountain. The final stage will see riders compete in a short 90km route through the streets of Adelaide before finishing in front of a packed crowd opposite the iconic Adelaide Oval Cricket Ground.
Speaking ahead of the opening race of the 2018 UCI World Tour season, UAE Team Emirates' Rui Costa said: “For the first time in my career I'll be participating in the Tour Down Under. I'm well aware that I will end up next to riders who will already be in great shape, especially the Australians. It will be interesting to see the impact of our winter training and hopefully we will have a good pedalling rhythm. This will be the beginning of a long season for me.”
UAE Team Emirates' Diego Ulissi commented: “Once again the 2018 season starts for me in Australia in a race where I have always experienced perfect riding conditions. The calibre of competition is going to be high, especially on the two stages with climb finishes and will serve as a good testing ground for the season ahead.”