The four-time Tour de France champion will be competing for the first time since his career-threatening crash at the Criterium du Dauphine last June.
“It’s all I’ve thought about for months now – being back racing,” said Froome, who suffered a broken hip, fractured femur, fractured elbow and broken ribs as part of a catalogue of injuries when he came off his time trial bike at high speed last summer.
“It will be a huge relief just to be back in the peloton again. It feels like I’ve been given a second chance to come back to pro racing after a crash like that. I’m definitely not taking that for granted.”
Froome, who is aiming to build up gradually to this summer’s Tour de France, will look to play a supporting role in the UAE Tour as part of a Team Ineos squad which also includes recent signing Andrey Amador and Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar.
“The year’s gone incredibly well so far but having said that I do still need to manage expectations,” Froome said. “I’m still quite a way off where I was at the Dauphine before the crash. It’s going to take me a while to get back to that shape.”
The seven-day UAE Tour begins on Sunday with a stage which starts and ends in Dubai, while the second stage on Monday includes the stiff test of the climb to the Hatta Dam.
“This is a great way for me to start my season,” Froome added. “It’s a race I missed out on last year and I was really hoping to do. It should be a good place for me to test out my legs and get back in the peloton again.
“Hopefully I can do a job for the team and we can try and get the best result possible.”