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UAE-Team Emirates signs 17-year-old Ayuso on five-year deal

UAE-Team Emirates continues to invest in youth, planning to play the long game in developing promising young Spaniard.

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UAE-Team Emirates has signed 17-year-old Spaniard Juan Ayuso on a five-year deal.

The youngster from Alicante, southern Spain, is the junior national champion and has dominated the domestic junior ranks in recent seasons.

“Juan is a rider we have been following for a long time,” said team manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez. “It’s no secret that we like to work with young, talented riders and Juan is the definition of this. He has the right balance between physical talent and having a very good head on his shoulders.”

Matxin has been active in seeking out young talent through recent seasons, signing WorldTour rookie Brandon McNulty (21) at the start of the 2020 season, and bringing new grand tour talent Tadej Pogačar to the team the year before.

“He [Ayuso] came to our team training camp last winter, and he has raced on a bike given by the team this year, so we have been giving him a hand along the way,” Fernandez said. “Last year he had an exceptionally strong season as a junior, and he showed that again at the start of this year.”

Ayuso will spend his first contract year with the WorldTour squad’s development team before gradually moving up to the pro ranks.

“The idea is to give him time and space to develop as a rider and as a person,” said Fernandez. “The priority at the moment is that he enjoys the bike. It’s a five-year outlook with Juan and he is part of the long-term project we are building at UAE-Team Emirates.”

Ayuso sees himself developing into a climber in future years, and managed to rack up six victories in the 2020 season before Spanish racing was put to a halt by coronavirus.

“The decision of choosing UAE ahead of any other team is because the team’s mentality is very similar to mine; a very ambitious mentality with a very hard work ethic behind it,” said Ayuso. “The team is relatively new, and it is taking huge steps to improve each year. I have no doubts that the team will become the best team in the WorldTour in the near future.”