Dubai: UAE Tour de France champions Emirates have pledged to strive for more glory in Europe after announcing a steady mix of youth and experience in their group for the 2020 Vuelta a Espana.
One of three Grand Tours in cycling – the Tour de France and the ongoing Giro d’Italia are the other two – this year the Vuelta was originally to be held from 14 August to 6 September, but had to be postponed until the end of October due to the coronavirus pandemic spreading around the world. The organizers originally announced that the first three stages would be held in the Netherlands, but this was later canceled before a second announcement was made to say that the race would be shortened to 18 stages covering a total distance of 2,892 km. with a start in Irun in the Basque region of Spain, on 20 October.
The race format will remain the same with the appearance of at least two time trials, the passage through the mountain range of the Pyrenees and the finish line in Madrid on 8 November.
“We expect an intense race from the start with only 18 innings, and we took that into account in our team selection. The team is a balance between younger riders getting their first opportunity on a Grand Tour, mixed with more experienced riders who will take on more responsibility, ‘UAE Emirates manager Matxin Fernandez said during the announcement of the group.
‘David De La Cruz is racing at his home ground in Spain and he deserves a chance to show what he can do after a solid Tour de France. [Davide] Formolo is also coming in fresh after recovering well from his accident during the Tour, while Rui Costa and Sergio Henao are our veterans who offer great experience and will have their own opportunities during the three weeks, ‘he added.
For the few sprints, the UAE Team Emirates will have the young Jasper Philipsen, who is actually on his way to join the Alpecin-Fenix team on a two-year contract from 2021. The 22-year-old, who earlier this the season each won a stage on the BinkBank Tour and the Tour du Limousin will lead three more promising riders, including Italian Alessandro Covi, Belarusian Aleksandr Riabushenko and Portuguese Ivo Oliveira.
Last year was a breakthrough season for the UAE Team Emirates at the Vuelta, as 2020 Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar scored three shift victories to finish third overall in Madrid, along with the white jersey for best youngster rider.
“Our philosophy is to inspire these young guys and also fight and be present in every phase of the race,” Fernandez said.
David De La Cruz (Spain)
Davide Formolo (Italy)
Alessandro Covi (Italy)
Jasper Philipsen (België)
Rui Costa (Portugal)
Sergio Henao (Colombia)
Aleksandr Riabushenko (Belarus)
Ivo Oliveira (Portugal)
Source: Gulf News