Dubai: A total of 78 podiums is what the UAE Team Emirates ended with as the truncated 2020 cycling season ended with the Vuelta a Espana last weekend.
It was truly a highly successful season for UAE Team Emirates as they ended with 33 first places, 25 second place finishes and 20 third places during the year that saw many of the main races and events being cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Last Sunday, Belgian rider Jasper Philipsen – who will be joining the Alpecin-Fenix team on a two-year contract from 2021 – came very close to adding to this list of achievements on the concluding stage of the Vuelta a Espana that was run over a distance of 139.6 kms from Hipodromo de Zarzuela to Madrid. However, the 22-year-old rider finished fourth – his personal best of the season and his young career as well.
“It’s time to say bye to @lavuelta and to @TeamUAEAbuDhabi. I had 2 amazing years here. Special thanks to @Matxin_, staff, teammates and sponsors. You all have a special place in my heart. I will never forget these many great moments,” Philipsen tweeted his appreciation to his team of two years.
The Belgian sprinter, already a winner in a stage of the Vuelta, took fourth place in the final dash that was won by Pascal Ackermann of Bora-Hansgrohe, ahead of Sam Bennett of Deceuninck-Quick Step.
But, signing off on a high note was UAE Team Emirates’ David De La Cruz as he clinched seventh overall in the general classification, exactly 7.35 minutes from the new champion Primoz Roglic of the Jumbo-Visma eam.
For UAE Team Emirates, Davide Formolo did not take part in the stage, as the rider travelled home to be with his wife to witness the birth of his first child. “We came here looking for stage wins and a strong General Classification, and we managed to do both. So, as a group we are pleased even if we always look for more. It’s been a very hard Vuelta and every day was a tough fight. This result gives me confidence looking ahead to next year to keep improving,” De La Cruz said.
Team Manager Matxin Fernandez was also keen to witness a progression of the riders for the next season. “The team attitude was positive and saw plenty of aggressive racing which is part of our general outlook as a team,” Fernandez noted.
“The stage win from Philipsen was a clear highlight and seventh on General Classification was a good result. I am confident that De La Cruz can achieve something even better in the future,” he added.
Vuelta a Espana Stage 18 Results: 1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3 hrs, 28.13 mins; 2. Sam Bennett (Deceunick-Quick Step) s.t.; 3. Max Kanter (Sunweb) s.t.; 4. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) s.t.
Final General Classification: 1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 72hrs, 46mins, 12secs; 2. Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) +24”; 3. Hugh Carthy (Ef) +1’15”; 7. David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) +7’35”.
2020 at a glance
33 – First places
25 – Second places
20 – Third places
Total: 78 podiums