Fernando Gaviria raring to get started as UAE Team Emirates gear up for new UCI World Tour season
Colombian sprinter headlines eight new recruits for the team, and expectations are high for a successful year
Fernando Gaviria has expressed his excitement at joining UAE Team Emirates and hopes to inspire the nation's youth, as the sprinter leads a quartet of Colombians to have signed for the UCI World Tour cycling team ahead of the new season.
With the 2019 season just a few days away – UAE Team Emirates begin their season at the week-long Tour Down Under in Australia on Sunday – the team have spent the off-season preparing to build on an impressive 2018.
Last season saw the team excel around the world, including podium places in one-day classics and stage victories in the grand tours – most notably at the Tour de France where Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff both celebrated wins.
This year, UAE Team Emirates enter the season with an even more impressive line-up having recruited eight riders, headlined by Gaviria, who arrives having won two stages at the 2018 Tour de France for Etix-Quick-Step.
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The 24-year-old Colombian also won the points classification title at the 2017 Giro d'Italia, and he is aiming to deliver more success for his new team as well as get involved in community projects.
“I’m happy that I’m going to start the new season wearing the jersey of UAE Team Emirates," Gaviria said. "In addition to the excitement of racing for a new team, I’m really keen to better understand the culture and traditions of the United Arab Emirates and to appreciate how cycling is really growing in the region.
"I admire the team’s project in the UAE, so it’s important that the riders can help inspire young kids to cycle and to promote a healthy lifestyle. I think it’s great that cycling is becoming aspirational and I really want to contribute by achieving great results for the team.”
Gaviria is joined by three compatriots to sign for UAE Team Emirates ahead of the 2019 campaign, including Colombian National Champion Sergio Henao.
Climber Henao, 31, signed for the team after six years at Team Sky, during which he won the 2017 Paris-Nice. He has won the past two Colombian National Road Race Championships.
Juan Sebastian Molano and Cristian Munoz complete UAE Team Emirates' new quartet of Colombian riders. Molano, 24, arrives after excelling in the second-tier Pro Continental where he won the Tour of China and Pan American Championships Road Race.
Munoz, 22, is the youngest of the Colombian recruits, also graduating from a Colombian Pro Continental cycling team.
UAE Team Emirates also secured the signatures of Portuguese twin brothers, Ivo and Rui Oliveira, Belgian Jasper Philipsen, and Swiss rider Tom Bohli.
Team CEO Mauro Gianetti believes this is the strongest line-up UAE Team Emirates have ever assembled, and he is confident of a successful season.
“This will be our third year as UAE Team Emirates and we have never been more excited or more confident of our potential," he said. "We have signed world-class riders – along with some of the best up and coming talent – and they have all bonded extremely well with our existing roster during the winter training camps.
"Off the road we have also forged new relationships with sponsors from the UAE, who will be invaluable in helping the team to build its profile and grow the sport of cycling across the country. We can’t wait to get this season started and show ours fans what we’re capable of.”
Updated: January 11, 2019 10:05 AM