The four-time Tour de France winner has been out of competition since crashing out of the Critérium du Dauphiné last June. He suffered a string of injuries and underwent several operations but has his sights firmly on returning to the Tour de France this year, where he will be aiming for a record-equaling fifth title.
Froome will face stiff competition at the Tour, even within his own team, after Dave Brailsford confirmed earlier in January that Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas – the last two Tour de France winners – would be given leadership status at Team Ineos.
In a video message posted on Wednesday morning, Froome confirmed his participation in the week-long UAE Tour, which begins on February 23.
"Hey everyone," Froome said in a recorded video message. "Training has been going really well. I'm here in Gran Canaria and I'm really happy to announce that I'll be starting my season at the UAE Tour, next month, starting in Dubai.
"It's a race I missed out on last year, so it's a great place for me to start my season this time around."
The seven-stage race features four expected opportunities for sprinters, along with two punchy finishes at Hatta Dam and Rafisa Dam, and the decisive summit finish at Jebel Hafeet.
Froome and Team Ineos toyed with the idea of starting the season at various races throughout the first few months of the season but his recovery was thrown into doubt, not least when he reportedly left a December training camp early, with a Team Ineos director saying: "He is not well."
In another video released by his team earlier this month, Froome confirmed that the Tour de France was his main focus.
"The only appointment I've set myself is Tour de France, and until then every week I'm just going to keep chipping away, keep trying to make the most of every camp, every race, building up to July and hope that, come that start line in Nice in July, I'll be ready to go," Froome said.
Good news! I’ll be back racing at the @uae_tour 🚴🏻♂️💨😁 pic.twitter.com/nR8lfw5YNrJanuary 22, 2020
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