The inaugural Saudi Tour gets underway on Tuesday in Riyadh, spanning five stages, and will provide the opportunity for two debutants to make their first outing for NTT Pro Cycling.
Our 7-rider lineup features the exciting Italian youngster Matteo Sobrero, who makes his bow having stepped up from our UCI Continental team while Carlos Barbero, who joined at the start of 2020 from Movistar, will showcase his wealth of experience and finishing power in NTT colours.
They’re joined by the uber-experienced and motivated duo of Roman Kreuziger and Enrico Gasparotto who will play leading roles in guiding the team over the course of the race. Barbero’s horsepower will be complemented by South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, who misses the SA National Championships in order to support his teammates at this event.
The USA’s Ben King and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier from Eritrea round out the selection, and will be looking at playing not only crucial supporting roles but both have the experience to grab any opportunity that they may arise.
The organisers say “the route aims to highlight the cultural history and the modernity of the Kingdom, outlined by its sporting facilities” and those who watched the recently completed Dakar Rally will note some familiar sites and terrain.
The fast men will have their opportunities but highlights include the uphill finish at Jaww on stage one, possibilities of echelons on stage two while stage three is arguably the race’s hardest day out as it finishes in
Al Bujairi. The fifth and final stage ends at the Masmak fort having traveled through downtown Riyadh.
Throughout the race the opportunity to secure crucial time bonuses could play a deciding factor in the final result which will ensure exciting racing every day.
I’m delighted to finally get my season underway with NTT Pro Cycling. We’ve worked really hard in our two training camps and now I just want to compete, help the team wherever is needed and take any opportunities that present themselves for me. So I’m hoping for a great week!
It’s a new race so it’s going to be a new experience for everybody, as nobody can claim to know the route at all. I think it’s going to be pretty interesting, a fast race with the forecast for the next few days for fairly strong winds, so I expect that it’s going to be a fight for echelons and a fight for bonus seconds.
For many guys it’s the first race of the year so let’s see how it goes, we will never give up, that’s for sure. We have two fast guys that can survive the punchy climbs – Reinie and Carlos – who are our arrows so our motto is “One Team” and we will do everything to support them.