Team UAE Emirates have been on a signing spree with an aim to improve their results over next two years. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai: Former African champion Ryan Gibbons is the latest rider to join the UAE Team Emirates squad for the next two years.

The 26-year-old Gibbons, who won both the Individual Time Trial and the Team Time Trial at last year’s African Games held in Morocco, confirmed his move from World Team NTT Pro Cycling to the Abu Dhabi-based outfit late on Monday.

The 12th African Games were held from August 19-31, 2019 in Rabat. This was the first time that the African Games were hosted by Morocco following the country’s re-admission into the African Union, in January 2017.

“I am thoroughly looking forward to joining UAE Team Emirates for the next two seasons. I feel honoured to be part of such an incredible set-up, which has achieved so much success and proven to be one of the best teams in the peloton,” Gibbons remarked.

Ryan (Gibbons) is a versatile rider who has shown himself to be very dynamic and a strong team player

- Mauro Gianetti, UAE Team Emirates Team Principal

“I have no doubt that this transition is crucial for my personal growth and my future as a professional cyclist and I’m eagerly awaiting the start of this new journey,” he added.

Named in the start list for the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Gibbons won the opening stage of the first-ever Virtual Tour de France on Junly 4, 2020.

Prior to starting his road racing career at junior level, the Johannesburg-born rider used to compete in mountain bike racing. He was a member of the NTT Pro Cycling team at this year’s Tour de France that was won in amazing manner by UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar.

Gibbons is the third new signing for the upcoming 2021 season, following Matteo Trentin and Rafal Majka who have also joined the team earlier this month.

UAE Team Emirates Team Principal Mauro Gianetti was pleased with the latest signing from South Africa. “Ryan is a versatile rider who has shown himself to be very dynamic and a strong team player,” Gianetti observed.

“He has progressed well over the past few seasons and we hope he can continue that progression in our team as we continue to build for the future,” he added.