Jayco-AlUla with their Tour de France team
January 26 th 2024 - 20:13 [GMT + 3]
Simon Yates and Dylan Groenewegen in contention, for GC and sprints respectively, like at the Tour de France
“I hope to win the overall”, says Yates
After three editions of the Saudi Tour, the race is rebranded AlUla Tour and for the second year running, the Australian WorldTour team is named Team Jayco-AlUla
Born GreenEdge in 2012, the Australian team did not wait to enter into a partnership with the historic region of AlUla to find success in Saudi Arabia since Dylan Groenewegen, in his first race in the colours of Team BikeExchange-Jayco, in February 2022, won the third and fifth stages of the Saudi Tour, as well as the points classification. Last year, the Dutchman had to settle for the first stage while once again winning the jersey of the points classification at the expense of Jonathan Milan, who would go on to dominate the same competition at the Giro d’Italia.
“The weather has been pretty tamed there for us, wind wise”, team manager Matt White recalled of the first two participations of his squad to the event. “We’re firstly going for the sprints. We’ve built the team around Dylan Groenewegen but we also want to win the general classification so the way the course is, we’re taking Simon Yates, he’s our man for that. It’s not too far off our Tour de France team for this year. All bar one of those guys is on our Tour de France short list, so it is a good team. Obviously, the race has now been rebranded AlUla Tour and our co-sponsor being AlUla, it’s a race we have to be successful in. We’re putting a lot of effort into winning a couple of stages and the general classification.”
It’ll be a first time for Yates who finished fourth of the Tour de France overall in 2023. “I know really nothing of Saudi Arabia other than the AlUla Tour and that it’s a family tourist destination and Saudi Arabia is opening up, so I’m excited to go there and experience it by myself as well as going there for a hard race. I hope to win it. It’s not the greatest course for me but I feel it’s a bit like going to the Santos Tour Down Under where you can play your cards in the climbs, make the climbs hard enough and it might sort of sway in my direction, in the climbers’ direction.”
“We’re going with a sprint heavy line up as well”, the Englishman added. “The team is built for the sprint stages. One stage is really hard and is off my head. I’ll have to work it out. At the end of last year, we sort of sat down to discuss ideas and what we want to do. The management was very keen for me to come to AlUla. It’s obviously an important race for us. I’ve been into the sport long enough to understand how important the territories are.” Team Jayco-AlUla is the home team at the AlUla Tour.