• Alexander Kristoff and Fabio Aru at the Tour of Switzerland (Getty)Source: Getty
Expect UAE to heavily animate this year's Tour de France with a team equally equipped with rouleurs and mountain men.
Cycling Central

UAE Team Emirates
28 Jun 2019 - 9:33 AM  UPDATED 28 Jun 2019 - 9:35 AM

Alexander Kristoff expected to take a step back for fellow fastman and team mate Fernando Gaviria but the Colombian is still struggling with a knee injury and missed out on selection.

The Norwegian's win at Gent-Wevelgem and third place at the Tour of Flanders proved he's equally at home on the punchier, cobbled stuff as he is on the flat finishes. 

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“I’ll be going to this Tour with the objective to try to win a stage, as well as relive the great emotions of last year," he said.

"This season my form was better than it has been the past few years, but the level of all the top riders is so high that a good condition is not enough, you also need enormous determination and a little luck."

After several months absence from racing with a constricted iliac artery and subsequent surgery, Fabio Aru hit some form at last week's Tour de Suisse.

With the GC not on his mind, expect the Italian to unleash some aggressive racing when the race starts to climb. 

"I was able to rediscover the spark of racing, feel fatigue in the legs and to really test my condition," Aru said

"I will not be in France to worry about the general classification, the Grande Boucle will be an exciting new chapter as I reboot my season.

"I expect that my performance will improve step by step, I will fight to be competitive and to help the overall objectives of the team and will aim for a stage win if the conditions are right.”

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Dan Martin is also keen for the flag to drop in Brussels. 

”I’m really excited to get racing again at the Tour. I feel good in training and the Dauphiné went really well, even if we didn’t see the same aggressive racing in the mountains that we normally do.

"I’ve come out of the Dauphiné well and I like the look of the course this year, plus we have a super strong team with a lot of different options and cards to play. I’m just looking forward to get started now.”

UAE to 2019 Tour de France: the climbers - Fabio Aru, Rui Costa, Sergio Henao, Dan Martin. the rouleurs - Sven Erik Bystrøm, Alexander Kristoff, Vegard Stake Laengen, Jasper Philipsen.