Ineos Grenadiers’ expected first race of the 2021 season will be the Challenge Mallorca.
With the Tour Down Under not running as a WorldTour race in January because of the coronavirus pandemic, the traditional European curtain-raiser on the island of Mallorca will likely instead be Ineos’ racing bow in 2021.
The four-day event is held as a series of four separate one-day races, with two stages typically reserved for sprinters and another two for rouleurs. The racing will take place from January 28 to 31.
There remains the possibility that the team will actually kick off their season on January 24 at GP Valencia, a race that dates back to 1969 but is returning to the calendar for the first time since 2005.
However, a startlist for the race that typically was won by a sprinter has not yet been revealed, and it is now known if WorldTour teams are set to participate.
Race organisers of the Challenge Mallorca announced the British team’s participation on Wednesday, adding that they were the second WorldTour team to confirm their attendance after UAE-Team Emirates.
It will be the 30th edition of the popular series of races that has a UCI rating of 1.1. Despite its lowest race category, its position in the calendar, aided by its warm winter location, allows it to attract a significant number of WorldTour teams.
The upcoming edition, however, is fraught with difficulties and complexities due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions.
In a statement, the organiser said: “There are a lot of inconveniences that the organisers have encountered due to the pandemic.
“The majority of the hotels on the island of closed or operating minimally. Groups are working together to make an effort so that the teams that come to the island will participate in La Challenge and find the best possible accommodation.”