“Heartbroken” was the word Charlotte Kool used to convey her reactions to pulling out of the Team dsm-firmenich PostNL start list for this week’s UAE Tour Women. The team confirmed that Kool would not take part in the Women’s WorldTour stage race due to illness.
The Dutch sprinter said she was looking forward to showing her “winter improvements” on repeat appearance at the UAE Tour Women, where last year at the inaugural event she won two stages and came away with the points classification title.
“It’s emotional, a hard decision as I trained for months towards this first goal of the season,” Kool posted to her social channels. “I always try my best to avoid getting sick, and be the best version of myself everyday, but unfortunately I failed in this. For now it’s health wise the best decision. First moment to show my ‘winter improvements’ is gone, but we come back stronger as always.”
This year looked to have a similar setup with three flat stages across the four days and teams to showcase lead-out trains and sprint stars, including a head-to-head rematch of Kool against Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx). Both had three podiums last year, Kool taking a pair of wins to just one for Wiebes.
The four-day race begins February 8 in Dubai and concludes February 12 at Abu Dhabi. Team dsm-firmenich PostNL will now field five riders – Rachele Barbieri, Pfeiffer Georgi, Daniel Hengeveld, Becky Storrie and Elise Uijen.
“With Charlotte out of the race due to sickness, we will take a more opportunistic approach to the three sprint chances available at UAE Tour and still continue our focus on doing a good lead out in those moments. There are opportunities where the wind can play a big role, so we want to be sharp all day, with good teamwork,” said team coach Albert Timmer.
“For the mountain top finish on Jebel Hafeet we will look after Pfeiffer, Becky, and Elise as our cards to play for the final climb.”
The climb to Jebel Hafeet should again play a decisive factor in the overall, as last year Elisa Longo Borghini climbed in the GC lead with the stage 3 win, with Lidl-Trek teammate Gaia Realini finishing second on the stage in the final standings.
Kool completed a team camp in Calpe in late January. With then spring Classics close at hand, her first start of 2024 could now be at Omloop van het Hageland and Le Samyn des Dames.