The race will be Kittel’s first in the colours of his new team, Etixx-QuickStep, and he will be joined in the line-up by his fellow countryman Tony Martin. For the defending champion Cavendish, the Dubai Tour marks his second race for Dimension Data after the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race in Australia this weekend.
Cavendish and Kittel will face competition in the sprints in Dubai from Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), Elia Viviani (Sky), Andrea Guardini (Astana) and former Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss, who competes for British outfit One Pro Cycling.
For Bradley Wiggins, the Dubai Tour will serve as a useful tune-up ahead of the Track World Championships in London, where he will ride in the team pursuit. Owain Doull and Jonathan Dibben join him in the Team Wiggins line-up here.
Cancellara begins preparations for his final tilt at the Spring Classics in a Trek-Segafredo line-up that also includes Stijn Devolder and Giacomo Nizzolo. Fellow cobbled Classics contenders Lars Boom (Astana) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) will also begin their campaigns in Dubai, as well as former world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida).
Giant-Alpecin’s line-up for the Dubai Tour has yet to be confirmed after six of their riders were injured in a crash after a motorist drove head-on into their group at a training camp in Calpe at the weekend. John Degenkolb had been scheduled to participate but the German’s injuries are such that he may be forced to miss the Classics campaign.
The 2016 Dubai Tour gets underway on February 3 and will again include the stiff uphill finish at Hatta Dam on stage 3. It is the third edition of the race, which is run by Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport.
Team and leaders for the Dubai Tour:
Astana Pro Team: Lars Boom, Andrea Guardini
BMC: Philippe Gilbert
Dimension Data: Mark Cavendish
Etixx-QuickStep: Marcel Kittel, Tony Martin
Lampre-Merida: Sacha Modolo, Rui Costa
Movistar Team: Giovanni Visconti, Alex Dowsett
Team Giant-Alpecin: Line-up to be confirmed
Team Sky: Elia Viviani
Tinkoff: Daniele Bennati
Trek Segafredo: Fabian Cancellara, Stijn Devolder
CCC Sprandi Polkowice: Davide Rebellin
One Pro Cycling: Matthew Harley Goss
Team Novo Nordisk: Stephen Clancy
Al Nasr Pro Cycling Team Dubai: Yousif Mirza
Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team: Ivan Santaromita
Team Wiggins: Bradley Wiggins