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UAE-Team Emirates has confirmed the core riders to make up its three grand tour teams.
Fabio Aru and Tadej Pogačar will lead the team at the Tour de France. While Aru has struggled to show the legs that allowed him to race into the Vuelta a España victory in 2015, all eyes will be on Pogačar making his Tour debut after his breakout debut season last year. Any neo-pro that wins three stages in the Vuelta and finishes on the podium in Madrid certainly has real Tour de France potential.
Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria, who was originally slated for the Tour de France before the coronavirus crisis put the cycling season on hold, will now focus on the Giro d’Italia. Gaviria has fond memories of the Giro, after winning four stages and the points jersey in 2017. Americans Brandon McNulty and Joe Dombrowski will focus on the overall classification, and the time trial heavy Giro will particularly play well into the strengths of McNulty, who will make his grand tour debut in Italy this year.
Aru, David De la Cruz and David Formolo will also be at the start of the Vuelta a España, although their roles are yet to be defined, and much will depend on their Tour de France performances. Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen and Portuguese puncher Rui Costa will also line up at the Vuelta and be on the hunt for stage wins.
“We are cautious but also optimistic,” said team principal Mauro Gianetti. “The solidarity within the team has been a great asset throughout this period and we aim to carry that forward as we move back to racing. A huge amount of work has been done by the team behind the scenes along with the help of our sponsors to ensure a viable safety protocol for when the racing returns. The prospect of racing again soon is an exciting one for the team, the sponsors, and also for the fans. The riders themselves are more motivated than ever with this new calendar.”
Initial UAE-Team Emirates grand tour lineups
Tour de France: Fabio Aru, Tadej Pogačar, Davide Formolo, David De la Cruz, Alexander Kristoff.
Giro d’Italia: Fernando Gaviria, Maximiliano Richeze, Sebastian Molano, Brandon McNulty, Joe Dombrowski, Valerio Conti, Diego Ulissi.
Vuelta España: David De la Cruz, Davide Formolo, Fabio Aru, Jasper Philipsen, Rui Costa.