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Mitchelton-BikeExchange look forward to first appearance at the Tour of Dubai

Sat 3 Feb 2018

Chinese registered UCI Continental team Mitchelton-BikeExchange begin their international season in prestigious company at the Tour of Dubai next week with the opportunity for the young Australian based team to test themselves against WorldTour opposition.

The team go into the race with a versatile and multi-national lineup that includes Australians Robert Stannard and Sam Jenner, British debutant Jacob Hennessy and the Chinese quartet Nazaerbieke Bieken, Wenhui Bi, Xiaolong Sun and Fuwen Xue.

Coming from a successful background in Chinese mountain bike racing Nazaerbieke Bieken will also be making his first appearance for the team and forms part of a healthy contingent of young Chinese talent within a set up committed to developing cycling in China and exposing Asian talent to European competition.

Team:

Nazaerbieke Bieken (CHI, 23)

Wenhui Bi (CHI, 24)

Jacob Hennessy (GBR, 21)

Sam Jenner (AUS, 19)

Robert Stannard (AUS, 20)

Xiaolong Sun (CHI, 23)

Fuwen Xue (CHI, 21)

Race History:

The race is in its fifth year and this will be the first time that Mitchelton-BikeExchange take part in the five-day stage race and follow in the footsteps of WorldTour stablemates Mitchelton-SCOTT by competing in the rapidly growing ‘desert classic’.

Competition will be made up of a mixed field that includes WorldTour, Pro-Continental and Continental teams providing a great opportunity for the younger riders to test themselves against the best in the world.

Objectives – Positioning and Opportunities:

With only one stage that ends in an uphill finish at the Hatta Dam on stage four the race will focus on the sprinters and fast, flat finishes. After a breakthrough victory at last year’s U23 Gent-Wevelgem, talented new signing Jacob Hennessy will be the team’s sprinter and supported rider.

Positioning and making the most of opportunities will be important for the team and while the pressure may be off, the desire and motivation to do well is very much in place and the short, but steep stage four climb up to Hatta Dam may provide a chance for the team to create an opportunity.

Jacob Hennessy – Sprinter:

“I am really looking forward to my first race for Mitchelton-BikeExchange and starting my 2018 season at the Tour of Dubai. Having watched the race over the past few years at home on TV I can’t wait to get stuck in amongst some of the best sprinters in the world.”

“Everybody involved with the team have been very welcoming and accepting of me which has really helped me to settle in quickly and in a relaxed manner allowing me to focus on the start of the season. I’m excited to see what we can achieve in Dubai and keen to get into the rhythm of racing again.”

Sport director James Victor:

“We go into our first international race of the season with a diverse roster, of international riders. Briton Jacob Hennessy will be making his first competitive appearance alongside Chinese debutant Nazaerbieke Bieken and we are all motivated to make the most of a great opportunity for our young team to compete against the best.”

“Jacob has come to the team with a typical motivated ‘sprinters’ attitude and has recently worked himself towards race condition at a training camp with the Mitchelton-SCOTT men’s team. We will be looking to Jacob to chase the anticipated bunch sprint opportunities with the remainder of the team assisting Jacob in getting in the best position possible to compete.

“Our Australians Robert Stannard and Sam Jenner return to the team alongside three of our 2017 Chinese riders Wenhui Bi, Fuwen Xue and Xiaolong Sun who will be transitioning from winter in China and a solid block of training with sport director Dave Sanders.

“Over the last three years the Tour of Dubai has been a thrilling contest between the world’s best sprinters and with the likes of defending champion Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) returning this year we expect the competition to be red hot.”

Stages:

Tuesday 6th February – Stage 1: Skydive Dubai to Palm Jumeirah, 167km

Wednesday 7th February – Stage 2: Skydive Dubai to Ras al Khaimah, 190km

Thursday 8th February – Stage 3: Skydive Dubai to Fujairah, 183km

Friday 9th February – Stage 4: Skydive Dubai to Hatta Dam, 172km

Saturday 10th February – Stage 5: Skydive Dubai to City Walk, 129km

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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