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Yousif Mirza and Diego Ulissi return to action for UAE Team Emirates at BinckBank Tour

The Emirati national champion will be riding in support of Diego Ulissi

Sport360 staff 2018/08/12

UAE Team Emirates local hero Yousif Mirza returns to racing in good form after a long spell of summer training camps around Europe.

The Emirati national champion will be riding in support of Diego Ulissi as the team takes on the BinckBank Tour from August 13-19.

Italian Ulissi will go into the stage race as a team leader who is full of confidence, knowing he is the second highest ranked rider in the peloton for the annual tour through the Netherlands and Belgium.

As well as Mirza, Ulissi will be joined by fellow Italian riders Filippo Ganna and Manuele Mori, Briton Ben Swift, Jan Polanc from Slovenia and young Belarussian star Alexandr Riabushenko.

The team will be guided by an Italian duo of sports directors, Daniele Righi and Marco Marzano.

Commenting ahead of the race, Righi said: “The riders with the skills that can most likely make it to the top part of the classification are Ulissi, who proved to be in good shape last weekend in the Clasica de San Sebastian, and Riabushenko, a young rider with excellent potential for this type of race.

Diego Ulissi.

“The faster stages will present Swift with significant chances to try to make it back into the more prestigious spots in the stage classification and, if there should be any breakaways, Polanc will be ready to show off his strength.

“The time trial will take place on a route that isn’t ideal for Ganna, however he will provide valuable backup for his team mates during the tour, along with Mori and Mirza – who is coming off a period of training with his national team.

“He spent several days riding on the track, focusing on work that should help him find the right pedal stroke to lead out Swift in the approach to the sprints; he will also be giving his usual support to the entire team during each individual stage.”

Now in its 13th edition, the BinckBank Tour – formerly known as the Eneco Tour – is famed for its undulating terrain, short steep hills and cobbled sections, giving it the feel of a Spring Classic in the summer months.

Traditionally, the route has featured a combination of climbs from the Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Flanders, making it an ideal tour for classics riders and hilly specialists.

This year’s seven stages feature four flat routes ranging from 165.5km to 209.2kms in distance, a 12.7km individual time trial and two hilly courses of 182.2km and 209.5km, which traverse through the Netherlands and Belgium respectively.

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Ben Swift BinckBank Tour Diego Ulissi UAE Team Emirates Yousif Mirza