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Gilbert set for season debut at Dubai Tour with BMC

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Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Tom Bohli (BMC Racing)

Tom Bohli (BMC Racing) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Silvan DIllier (Swizerland)

Silvan DIllier (Swizerland) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Ben Hermans (BMC Racing Team)

Ben Hermans (BMC Racing Team) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Amaël Moinard (BMC)

Amaël Moinard (BMC) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing)

Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Manuel Senni (BMC) chases back after the climb

Manuel Senni (BMC) chases back after the climb (Image credit: Jonathan Devich/
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Loïc Vliegen (BMC Racing Team)

Loïc Vliegen (BMC Racing Team) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

BMC Racing head to Dubai Tour this week looking to secure its second general classification success in three attempts having won the inaugural edition of the race in 2014 with Taylor Phinney. Former world champion Philippe Gilbert will lead the team as he looks to claim his first stage race overall since the 2014 Tour of Beijing. The 33-year-old finished his 2015 season at the Abu Dhabi Tour having also started the year at the  Dubai Tour, placing eighth overall.

"It's a relatively easy course targeted at sprinters, comprised of two flat days in central Dubai, and stage three with the small uphill of about one kilometer with a couple of kicks before the last finish," Sciandri said. "Stage four is again another flat stage in Dubai. Usually there is not too much wind and the roads are nice so it should be a good race." 

Sixth place on stage 3 last saw Gilbert climb up the overall standings having placed 49th on the opening stage. The Belgian explained he is looking to feature at the pointy end of the early stages to ensure he is within touching distance of the leader's jersey for stage 3.

"It's only four days of racing but it's a good race because you do 650 kilometers so you still work hard. Staying in a good position in the sprint and trying to pick up some time bonuses will be important. I was close in 2015 so I hope to do better this year," Gilbert said.

BMC will also be able to call upon Ben Hermans and Samuel Sanchez for the stage 3 uphill finish which is set to decide the overall standings. Swiss national time trial champion Silvan Diller, Amaël Moinard and three neo-pros Tom Bohli, Manuel Senni and Loïc Vliegen complete the team.

Cyclingnews will provide extensive coverage of all the racing with interviews, news and exclusives during the four-day race. 

BMC Racing for the 2016 Dubai Tour (February 3-6):  Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Tom Bohli (Sui), Silvan Dillier (Sui), Ben Hermans (Bel), Amaël Moinard (Fra), Samuel Sanchez (Esp), Manuel Senni (Ita) and Loïc Vliegen (Bel).