Having been cleared of a rib fracture after crashing in the Tour de San Luis, Vincenzo Nibali will continue his season tomorrow when the inaugural Dubai Tour kicks off with a 9.9km time trial. While the team captain will only be there to prepare for later objectives, his Astana team will target success in the sprints with Andrea Guardini and Jacopo Guarnieri.
Vincenzo Nibali got his season off to a slow start in the Tour de San Luis and even had a major scare when he crashed on the penultimate day. Luckily, he was cleared of a suspected rib fracture and he will ready to resume racing tomorrow when the Dubai Tour opens the block of Middle East races.
With a short time trial and three stages expected to end in sprints, there is little chance for Nibali to excel. He is likely to use the race against the clock to test himself but he main objective will be to get some good racing under his belt in warm conditions.
This opens the door dor some of his teammates to take centre stage and Astana has selected a roster that will be clearly focused on the sprints. Having stated his intention to find back to his former self after a disappointing first year at the Kazakh team, Andrea Guardini will be the team's captain as he chases his first win of the season. He will have a strong support crew at his disposal as Jacopo Guarnieri, Valentin Iglinskiy and former U23 world champion Alexey Lutsenko will all be capable of providing him with lead-out support.
The team's GC hopes are likely to rest on Janez Brajkovic and former American U23 TT champion Evan Huffman who will try to post a good time on the opening day. Nibali's trusted domestique Alessandro Vanotti completes the roster.
You can read our preview of the race here. Starting at 10.45 CET, you can follow all four stages on CyclingQuotes.com/live.
Astana for the Dubai Tour
Vincenzo Nibali, Alessandro Vanotti, Janez Brajkovic, Evan Huffman, Andrea Guardini, Jacpo Guarnieri, Valentin Iglinskiy and Alexey Lutsenko
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