We are just a few hours away from the start of our second UAE Tour. Before the opening stage, which is mostly flat and is predicted to end in a mass sprint, Israel Start-Up Nation sat down with the Israeli road race champion, Omer Goldstein, who is in the United Arab Emirates for the second time.

Video by: Sjors Beukeboom

Goldstein, like everyone else on the team, is extremely excited to race in the UAE. He is confident that the team has a strong line-up for the seven-day stage race. “We have Hermans and Froome for the climbs,” he says, “and a strong lead-out train for the flat stages. Personally, I hope I can contribute to the team’s successes, and get a top-20 result in one of the mountain stages.”

Israeli Directeur Sportif Dror Pekatch, agrees with his fellow countryman. “We are coming for results in the flat stages and in the mountains. It is a prestigious race, not only for us given the special relations between the UAE and Israel, but for all the competing teams. It is one of the few races that actually is able to start under the corona circumstances. The level is high, and we brought a great group of riders and staff.”

Today’s stage in the UAE Tour is flat and travels through the country’s empty deserts. Two days ago, Israel Start-Up Nation ended up in a small sandstorm during the last hour of riding, so being attentive to changing circumstances and echelons is important. The final is quite technical, with multiple roundabouts in the last five kilometers. Even though the roads are generally wide in the UAE, positioning will be key to contest for a good result in the opening stage of this tour.