Their back tyre is still on the roads of the 2017 season, but UAE Team Emirates insist their front one is very much sprinting towards the 2018 campaign.
A team meeting was held in Lugano this week where team officials started laying the foundations for next year and beginning all the preparatory work that goes into it.
During the team meeting, announcements were made regarding the technical staff, which will call on members from four different countries to lead UAE Team Emirates next season. Italian Paolo Tiralongo comes on board as assistant sports director.
He will be joined by compatriots Marco Marzano, Daniele Righi, Mario Scirea and Bruno Vicino, with Joxean Matxin (Spain), Philippe Mauduit (France) and Simone Pedrazzini (Switzerland) completing the management team.
The new UAE Team Emirates riders’ roster for 2018 has already been shaken up with the acquisition of Italy’s Fabio Aru, the 2015 Vuelta a Espana champion from Astana, as well as Ireland’s Daniel Martin from Quick-Step, who has stage wins at the Tour de France and the Vuelta, in addition to twotime Tour de France stage winner Alexander Kristoff.
Team manager Carlo Sarroni said: “After our first year, during which we showcased the skills of the riders who were already in our roster, we tried to sign top riders for next season who could compete for top results in the major Tours.
“The most important feedback from 2017 is that the team was competitive throughout the season and that our riders demonstrated their passion in every race. “We all learnt that we are representing a nation, the UAE, and this means that we have a responsibility every time we are wearing the team’s colours. It gives us extra motivation. A victory in a major Tour is the goal we are aiming for.”
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamUAEAbuDhabi) November 1, 2017
The countdown to the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge continued on Friday with a spin.
With just eight weeks to go until the main event, over 550 cyclists from across the UAE met at the Al Qudra Cycle Track at the third Spinneys Build-Up ride ahead of the main 92km event on 15th December.
Coming in first place for the men was Rashed Mohamed Ghulam and Cedric Domont who both crossed the finish line with a time of 01:34:22 and Mansoor Ali Thanicame came in third in 01:34:22.
Nichola McDonald took first place in the women’s challenge with a time of 01:40:59, Kim Percy came in second with a time of 01:41:49 and in third place was Julie Luyt coming in at 01:41:57.
Spinneys, the locally-owned supermarket chain was once again a great hit in the busy Cycle Village with their delicious omelets and freshly baked croissants for everyone to enjoy after a long ride on the track. Alongside Spinneys, a number of other sponsors ensured that all cyclists, friends and family had a fantastic morning, including UPANDRUNNING with their much-needed sports massages.
The fourth and final Build-Up ride is taking place on 24th November covering 85km taking place at Al Qudra Cycling Track.
To register or find our more information on any of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge events please visit www.cyclechallenge.ae.
Diego Ulissi insists his first-ever UCI WorldTour triumph was the perfect way to end the 2017 season and will spur him on to work harder for even greater success next season.
The 28-year-old Italian claimed victory at the Tour of Turkey on Sunday, producing a thrilling ride to win the Queen Stage (Stage 4), with sixth place sixth on the final stage good enough for him to emerge as the overall winner.
The Cecina native finished safely in the bunch on the final day in Istanbul to claim the General Classification 12 seconds ahead of Astana’s Jesper Hansen, with Androni Giocattoli’s Fausto Masnada third, with Ulissi clinching his first WorldTour victory and 29th win of his career.
Ulissi began and ended the season tasting success, adding the WorldTour victory to his Gran Premio della Costa Etruschi win in Tuscany in February.
And, having finished second on Stage 15 of the Tour de France behind Trek–Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema in July, Ulissi is content with his 2017 campaign – UAE Team Emirates’ WorldTour debut.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to have my first WorldTour win, it was my goal for this race to win the General Classification and I’m so pleased to have done it,” Ulissi told Sport360.
“I couldn’t have done so without the team’s efforts, it’s them that helped me get this win so a big thank you to them.
“I’ve closed out my season in the best way possible with a WorldTour win, the first of my career. To finish on a high is fantastic and it helps me focus on next year with a great motivation.
“I’ve managed to stay in good form at the end of season which really helped me to be competitive throughout this tour.”
Ulissi, who finished second in the Italian National Road Race Championships in June behind compatriot and new UAE teammate Fabio Aru, claims that as a rider he always strives for better, but he can be pretty content with his efforts – which also saw him claim victory at September’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal in Canada.
“Every rider would always like to achieve better, I feel the same because I always want the best,” added Ulissi, winner of six individual stages at the Giro d’Italia.
“However, I feel my season was pretty good, starting from the top five in the GC of the Tour Down Under which I obtained in January and ending in October with the win in Turkey.
“I would have liked to obtain better results in the Ardenne Classics and, of course, I would change the second place in the stage of the Tour de France for a victory.”
The rest period for professional cycling has shortened dramatically over the years, with thoughts already turning to the 2018 campaign which begins in under three months.
But Ulissi says he will now recharge his batteries and spend some time with his family before focusing on more success come January.
“I’ve had a good season and it’s been a big change for the team with us representing a nation on the jersey,” he said.
“I want to do even better for 2018 and hope to get people in the UAE inspired by my performance and the team’s so they get cycling.
“Sponsors and the management have continued to explain to me and the team that the efforts and achievements of the riders are helping to increase the awareness and the passion toward cycling in the UAE which for me is a great success and it gives me great satisfaction, making my season even better.
“Compared to the past, the off-season is very short in cycling now. Some years ago, the first race appointments were scheduled in February, nowadays most of the team’s riders will be flying to Australia or Argentina by early January.
“In my downtime I’ll rest for a couple of weeks, I’ll spend them with my wife and daughter, then I’ll start to do some gym practice, then it’s back to work.”
UAE are set for a modest 12th place finish in the WorldTour team standings out of 18 teams on debut. They will be aiming for more success next year with the addition of Italian champion Aru, who will join fellow new signings Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff on an overhauled roster.
And Ulissi is excited for the new campaign ahead, adding: “It’s been a big development for the team, it was a real breakthrough moment for professional cycling with such big sponsors coming on board.
“We’re now building on our roster with world-class riders which is an exciting time for the whole squad.”