Dubai: The UCI World Tour 2019 is less than one-week away and for UAE Team Emirates, it not only marks their third season as a professional cycling squad on the sport’s biggest stage, but one that promises to become their most successful to date.
Their 2018 campaign brought the team a series of high-profile wins across the year, with impressive podiums in one-day classics, stage races and Grand Tours — most notably the Tour de France, where both Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff earned first-place finishes.
This year the team has bolstered the squad with even more firepower, bringing in both world-class riders with proven pedigree on the World Tour and young talent with the ability to grow into the stars of the future. The new roster of riders will give the team an edge for 2019, elevating them to the next level with the goal of being one of the most competitive teams on the tour. The new signings have been made possible through the continued support of the team’s existing sponsors, which include local partners Emirates and First Abu Dhabi Bank as well as Emirati real estate development company Emaar, who now feature prominently on the front and back of the team’s jersey.
The most notable of the new riders signed during the winter off-season was Fernando Gaviria. The Columbian sprinter was a two-stage Tour de France winner in 2018 and is being heralded as one of cycling’s most promising talents. Despite being just 24-years-old, Gaviria’s winning mentality has seen the powerhouse pick up stage wins at the Giro d’Italia (2017), Amgen Tour of California (2018), Tour of Poland (2016), Tirreno-Adriatico (2016 & 2017) and Tour of Britain (2015 & 2017).
Commenting ahead of the new season, Gaviria said: “I’m happy that I’m going to start the new season wearing the jersey of UAE Team Emirates. In addition to the excitement of racing for a new team, I’m really keen to better understand the culture and traditions of the United Arab Emirates and to appreciate how cycling is really growing in the region. I admire the team’s project in the UAE, so it’s important that the riders can help inspire young kids to cycle and to promote a healthy lifestyle. I think it’s great that cycling is becoming aspirational and I really want to contribute by achieving great results for the team”.
Joining Gaviria is countryman and Colombian National Champion Sergio Henao. The climber joins UAE Team Emirates from Team Sky, where he secured a number of important wins, most recently the 2017 edition of Paris-Nice which saw him take home the General Classification.