With less than a week to go until the Vuelta a Espana starts in Torrevieja, UAE Team Emirates has named its eight man squad for the last Grand Tour of the season.
Fabio Aru and Fernando Gaviria spearhead the Emirati formation, who will have support from a well-rounded team, including rising star Tadej Pogacar who will earn his first ever Grand Tour cap.
The squad is topped off with the Italian trio of Valerio Conti, Oliviero Troia and Marco Marcato, as well as the Colombian duo of Sergio Henao and Juan Sebastian Molano.
The 21 stages of this year’s Vuelta will kick off with a 13.4km Team Time Trial in Torrevieja on Saturday and run until the final sprint stage in Madrid on September 15.
Along the way there are six flat stages, a 36.2km Individual Time Trial, three lumpy stages, and nine mountain stages – eight of which feature summit finishes.
Aru, who won the Vuelta in 2015, is relishing the prospect of returning to Spain after bad luck, injury and surgery has curtailed his last twelve months.
The Italian said: “As always, the Vuelta a Espana represents an important and stimulating challenge, both in terms of the route and the quality of the start list.
“I’m excited and ready to race, especially since the operation I had four months ago. The goal is to compete at high level but also to be consistent.”
Gaviria said: “I am happy to make my debut in an important race like the Vuelta, the only Grand Tour I have never participated in. There aren’t many stages for the sprinters, and we’ll have to take our chances when we can – this is what makes the Vuelta even more challenging and stimulating.”
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