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UAE Team Emirates quash talk of signing Nairo Quintana as attention turns to Tim Wellens

'Let’s see if we can get him,' says team boss Mauro Gianetti.

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Mauro Gianetti poured cold water on the chances of Nairo Quintana joining UAE Team Emirates next year.

The Colombian rider and former winner of both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España had been linked with a move away from Arkéa-Samsic at the end of the season, with UAE put forward as a possible destination for the 32-year-old.

“He’s on the market and he’s been offered to us. He’s a very good rider but he’s not the rider that we are looking for,” Gianetti told VeloNews via phone on Wednesday.

Also read: Tim Wellens to trade Lotto-Soudal for ride with Tadej Pogačar at UAE Emirates in 2023

According to the team boss, UAE Team Emirates is already set with their GC plans as they look to build around two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, along with promising GC riders João Almeida and Juan Ayuso. If the right rider comes along to complement the trio then Gianetti will act, but his priorities lay in strengthening the team in other areas.

“We have our leaders for GC and they are young. We believe in that group, so it’s really an issue for us with Nairo. He’s a very good rider but with Tadej, Ayuso and Almeida … ” he said.

“We are looking to reinforce the team in areas like the classics and the sprints. Maybe there are other good riders to help in the stage races. Those are the areas that we are looking at. We are calm but we are in the market and we have made some offers to riders. We’re not under any pressure.”

One rider that could be on his way out of the UAE stable is Fernando Gaviria. The sprinter’s contract ends this year and the 27-year-old has not won a grand tour stage since 2019. He has struggled for health and fitness due to bouts of COVID and isn’t in the frame for a Tour de France spot.

Gianetti on Wellens: ‘Let’s see if we can get him’

One rider who looks set to join the team is Tim Wellens. Riders cannot be officially unveiled on new teams until the UCI’s transfer window opens on August 1, but Lotto Soudal has already admitted defeat in trying to keep their longtime servant and the Belgian press has already pointed to a move to UAE.

“With Gaviria, his contract ends this season,” said Gianetti. “For the moment we’ve not started any negotiations. That’s something that we’ll look at in the next months.

“I have read about us and Tim Wellens. I know that many teams are interested in him and we are too,” he said. “He’s a good rider and he’s one of the riders we’d like in the team. We’re still waiting and still discussing. Other teams are interested. Let’s see if we can get him.”