Tadej Pogacar may spearhead UAE Team Emirates’ ambitions at their home UAE Tour, however another man, Davide Formolo is also catching the eye.
The Italian road race champion, who joined from Bora-Hansgrohe in December, is a star in the making and will put emphasis on one-day racing for his new team this season.
A rider of great potential, he brings solid experience, intelligent race craft and ambition to the home outfit as they seek to add to their one stage win from the 2019 UAE Tour.
To highlight his burgeoning talents, the 27-year-old placed 10th, 10th and 14th overall in the past three editions of the Giro d’Italia, and finished second at the 2019 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tokyo 2020 Olympics Test event.
Speaking to Sport360 ahead of the UAE Tour, Formolo said: “Everything has been great since December. It’s been really good. I knew a lot of riders already, so even though it was a new team for me, the transition was easier.”
A native of Marano di Valpolicella, just outside of Verona, Formolo spent four seasons in Cannondale colours before moving to Bora-Hansgrohe in 2018.
Among his other stand-out results in his final campaign at Bora in 2019, he clinched a stage win in the Volta a Catalunya and podium places on stages 7 and 17 of the Giro d’Italia.
His crowning moment came at the end of June, however, when he made a solo break to win the Italian road race championship in Compiano.
“I was really happy with my year overall. I tried to do my best at the Giro d’Italia but I encountered some problems that affected my performance,” said the Monaco resident.
“This year I’m more focused on the Classics, so I hope also for the Olympics and the World Championships in Austria.”
The Ardennes Classics will dominate the first half of the year, before the Olympics in July and the World Championships in September.
On teammate Pogacar, who finished third overall in the Vuelta a Espana in his debut pro season, Formolo believes the Slovenian is a huge talent.
“We like in the same building in Monaco. I met him a few times in training. I keep telling him to relax and not to feel pressure, and just do things like he’s used to doing. He’s a big talent. He’s been great already,” said Formolo.
UAE Team Emirates general manager Joxean Matxin was glowing in his praise for Formolo and admitted he would focus on the Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallonne and Liege–Bastogne–Liege races this campaign.
He said: “Davide has great qualities and great potential. He has already achieved some good results in the Classics and in the general classification of stage races and we are confident that he can reach even greater heights in the years to come.
“He will have the full support of the team for his objectives in the Ardennes Classics and beyond.”