Paris: Italy`s 2014 Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali leads a strong field into the inaugural Tour of Abu Dhabi, which begins on October 8th, while Britain`s star sprinter Mark Cavendish and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde will also be on the start-line.
Crowd favourite the Slovakian Peter Sagan, who won a fourth green jersey as points leader at the recent 2015 Tour de France, has also committed to compete, as 18 teams of six riders race over four stages on consecutive days.
Ten of those teams compete on the WorldTour as the first edition of the Tour of Abu Dhabi races over a total distance of 555km.
Cavendish is a star attraction wherever he competes and his haul of 26 stage wins on the Tour de France is the third best tally in history and only eight behind record holder Eddy Merckx.
Valverde, the veteran 35-year-old Spaniard, came third at the latest TDF, and is a strong rival to Nibali for the overall crown, while Australian Richie Porte will be leader for British team Sky.
Belgium`s former world champion Philippe Gilbert and one-day classics specialist will saddle up for the BMC outfit while Italian Fabio Aru of Astana is back in action after his recent victory at the Tour of Spain.