UCI WorldTour team classification leaders Deceuninck Quick-Step enjoyed another outstanding Tour de France thanks largely to the supreme efforts of Julian Alaphilippe.
The Belgian-based team won three stages, clocked up two weeks in the coveted yellow jersey (which celebrated 100 years this July) and took home the Super Combatif award as well as a fifth place in the overall standings, the team’s best ever GC result at the race.
Once Le Tour was done and dusted, we talked with the members of the team that call themselves the Wolfpack – riders and staff alike – about their personal highlights of the race where the team delivered again a plethora of emotions, unforgettable moments, and majestic performances that thrilled cycling fans.
Less than a week after the Tour de France ended, two of the team’s biggest names will be back in action for UAE Team Emirates at the Clasica San Sebastian (August 3).
Both Dan Martin and Rui Costa will lead a team of seven as they take on one of the hilliest one-day races on the UCI WorldTour calendar. With seven categorised climbs along its 227.3km route, the Spanish classic will test the legs of even the most battle-hardened rider.
The team supporting Martin and Costa mixes experience and youth, and includes up and coming Slovenian talent, Tadej Pogacar. After a string of impressive performances, which have included winning the youth classification at the Tour of the Algarve, the Tour of the Basque and the Tour of Slovenia – as well as the yellow winner’s jersey at the Amgen Tour of California – Pogacar will be an outside favourite on this demanding parcours.
Pogacar said: “San Sebastian will be my first race after a training block, I’m coming back to racing feeling confident and ready to test myself against top competition, which we will no doubt be up against.
“I have worked hard over the past weeks, and I’m eager to see if this race will suit me well.”
The team will be guided by sports directors Joxean Matxin and Neil Stephens.
UAE squad: Rui Costa (Portugal), Daniel Martin (Ireland), Juan Sebastian Molano (Colombia), Tadej Pogacar, Jan Polanc (both Slovenia), Aleksandr Riabushenko (Belarus), Rory Sutherland (Australia)
The second of this year’s Grand Tours – the Tour de France – may have ended, but the racing season is still very much alive for UAE Team Emirates as they send a squad packed full of exciting Italian talent to back up their star sprinter Fernando Gaviria at the Tour of Poland (August 3-9).
Gaviria returns to racing after a prolonged absence due to a knee problem and will be looking for success in the sprint finishes, along with Diego Ulissi who is also targeting stage victories.
The team will be guided across the seven stage tour by Sports Directors Marco Marzano and Bruno Vicino.
Gaviria said: “The Tour de Poland will be a significant event for me, since it will mark the return to racing after the forced stop due to knee problems.
“I’m looking forward to savouring the atmosphere of the race and I’m curious to see what level I can sustain having recently done a block at altitude.”
Ulissi added: “Taking part in the Tour de Pologne is always a pleasure and it’s a race that motivates me. I’m going here with the goal of fighting for a stage win. The route this year will be particularly challenging, to be in with a shot we will need to be consistent everyday.”
UAE squad: Fernando Gaviria (Colombia), Diego Ulissi, Simone Consonni, Valerio Conti, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi (all Italy)