UAE Team Emirates aim to be top-seven team this season and one of the best by 2020

Jay Asser 20:01 19/02/2018
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UAE Team Emirates riders ahead of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

From a top-seven team by the end of this season, to one of the top outfits in cycling by 2020, the expectations for UAE Team Emirates continue to rise.

After getting their feet wet in last season’s inaugural campaign, the team significantly raised the talent on their roster with the additions of big names in Alexander Kristoff, Fabio Aru and Dan Martin.

And as the profile and level of the squad grows, so does Mauro Gianetti’s belief that UAE Team Emirates can compete with the best.

“The target of this year was to first increase the level of the team. With Fabio Aru, Kristoff and other very good riders on the team, the main goal is to be one of the top seven teams in the world by the end of the year,” said the UAE Team Emirates general manger.

“And of course to be a team like (co-manager and former cyclist) Giuseppe Saronni, a team that shows courage during the race. Not just waiting, but take the race in hand in the big tours like the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and of course the classics like Milan-San Remo, Flanders and others.”

Considering the riders at their disposal now, that goal appears more than attainable.

Kristoff, the current European champion, has claimed two stages in the Tour de France (both in 2014), while winning both Milan-San Remo (2014) and Tour of Flanders (2015).

Aru has a Vuelta a Espana title (2015) to his name, along with the young rider classification in the Giro d’italia (2015) and a stage victory at last year’s Tour de France.

Martin, meanwhile, has stage triumphs in both the Vuelta (2011) and Tour de France (2013).

The collective resume of UAE Team Emirates means that the time is now for the squad to at least put on respectable showings in the Grand Tours and Classics.

“Expectations this season are at another level. With riders like Kristoff, Aru and Martin, we hope they will be protagonists in the Classics,” said Gianetti.

“In Milan-San Remo and these types of Classics, we didn’t have a lot of good riders last year. With Aru and Martin, when we go to the Giro and to the Vuelta, we will be at another level with riders fighting for the GC (general classification).”

While the roster is in place for UAE Team Emirates to make good on their short-term target, Gianetti recognises that they will have to keep evolving to reach the bigger goal – one that is still years down the road.

Gianetti said: “The dream and the vision is to by 2020 be one of the top teams in the world.”

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