Dubai: Tour de France champions UAE Team Emirates have promised to go all out for more glory in Europe after announcing a steady blend of youth and experience in their squad for the 2020 Vuelta a Espana.
One of three Grand Tours in cycling — the Tour de France and the ongoing Giro d’Italia are the other two — this year’s Vuelta was originally scheduled to be held from August 14 to September 6, but had to be postponed to late October due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the world. The organisers had originally announced that the opening three stages would be held in the Netherlands, but this was later cancelled before a second announcement was made to say that the race would be shortened to 18 stages covering a total distance of 2,892 kms with a start in Irun in the Basque region of Spain, on October 20.
The format of the race will stay the same with the appearance of at least two time trials, the passage through the mountain chain of the Pyrenees and the finish in Madrid on November 8.
“We expect an intense race from the beginning with just 18 stages and we have accounted for that in our team selection. The team is a balance of younger riders who are getting their first opportunity at a Grand Tour, mixed with more experienced riders who will take on more responsibility,” UAE Team Emirates Manager Matxin Fernandez, said at the announcement of the squad.
“David De La Cruz is racing on home turf in Spain and he deserves a chance to show what he can do after a solid Tour de France. [Davide] Formolo is also coming in fresh after recovering well from his crash at the Tour, while Rui Costa and Sergio Henao are our veterans who offer huge experience and will have their own opportunities during the three weeks,” he added.
For the few sprint stages the UAE Team Emirates will have the young Jasper Philipsen, who is actually on his way out to join the Alpecin-Fenix team on a two-year contract starting from 2021. The 22-year-old, who earlier this season won a stage each at the BinkBank Tour and the Tour du Limousin, will be leading off another three promising riders that include Italian Alessandro Covi, Belarussian Aleksandr Riabushenko and Portuguese Ivo Oliveira.
Last year was a breakthrough season for the UAE Team Emirates at the Vuelta as 2020 Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar claimed three stage wins to finish third overall in Madrid along with the white jersey for best young rider.
“Our philosophy is to bring-on these young guys and to also fight and be present in every stage of the race,” Fernandez said.
David De La Cruz (Spain)
Davide Formolo (Italy)
Alessandro Covi (Italy)
Jasper Philipsen (Belgium)
Rui Costa (Portugal)
Sergio Henao (Colombia)
Aleksandr Riabushenko (Belarus)
Ivo Oliveira (Portugal)