Dubai, UAE, September 03, 2018: Following the success of its summer Youth Academy, in which over 180 budding young cyclists took part in bespoke indoor cycling clinics, UAE Team Emirates has continued to show its commitment to developing the sport in the UAE by hosting a development workshop in Mende, France with members of Abu Dhabi Cycling Club.
As guests of UAE Team Emirates’ President, His Highness Matar Suhail Al Yabhouni Al Dhaheri, who is also Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi Cycling Club, over 20 riders and staff met with Manager, Mauro Gianetti to discuss all things cycling, in particular the development of the sport and riders in the emirates. Gianetti, a former pro-rider whose honours include: Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold Race and a silver medallist at the Road Race World Championships, gave the riders advice on the growth of cycling, how to encourage more people to take up the sport and build on the success the club has already seen since its inception in 2017.
Commenting on the partnership, Mauro Gianetti said: “It’s always amazing to meet young cyclists so hungry for knowledge about cycling. The Abu Dhabi Cycling Club is very well organized and we pay a lot of attention to the new talent coming from the UAE. It’s important we work closely with them to develop riders and that they look at us as the ultimate goal.”
A mixture of male and female cyclists, who were in the south of France as part of a 24-day training camp and rode a total of 1,700km across a variety of terrains and distances, took part in the UAE Team Emirates workshop and were given invaluable guidance and direction that will be put into action here in the UAE.
Reflecting on the workshop, Mohammed K. Al Hammadi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cycling Club said: “We are extremely grateful to UAE Team Emirates for giving us the opportunity to learn more about cycling and how we can help take our club and riders to the next level. Cycling is becoming one of the most popular sports in the UAE and we are determined to be one of the driving forces that help it reach its full potential. To have the support of a UCI World Tour team to achieve that is extremely valuable and we look forward to building on our partnership over the coming months.”
Safiya Al Sayegh, the Women’s team captain who took part in the training camp and UAE Team Emirates workshop added: “Having the chance to listen to and learn from a former professional who has a wealth of experience was really inspirational. The entire camp has been a truly memorable experience and we are blessed to have been given the opportunity to come and ride here. When we return to the UAE, we will be able to put what we have learned into practice and become better riders, and hopefully one day we could find ourselves riding in the UAE colours on the world stage!”
As part of the ongoing partnership, UAE Team Emirates will continue to help Abu Dhabi Cycling Club to develop as a club and attract more youngsters to the sport with the hope of finding local talent that can compete at a professional level.
Following the camp, UAE Team Emirates announced the signing of two of cycling’s most promising young talents after reaching agreements with Slovenian, Tadej Pogačar and Italian, Alessandro Covi.
After a remarkable start to the year, Pogačar will join UAE Team Emirates for the 2019 season and make his UCI World Tour debut. A useful all-rounder, Pogačar possesses considerable agility on the climbs, with strong power that makes him efficient on flat terrain and in sprints. The young Slovenian boasts an impressive 2018 portfolio including a General Classification (GC) win at the Tour de l’Avenir – a race which has produced five Tour de France winners. He also holds Under23 National Titles in time trial and road racing, a GC win at the Grand Prix Priessnitz and fourth place in the GC at the Tour of Slovenia – a race in which he captured the title of best young rider in 2017.
Commenting ahead of his move, Pogačar said: “I am honoured to be able to ride in a World Tour team and it makes me even happier to know that I am joining an ambitious group that knows how to value their riders. I’d like to thank Giuseppe Saronni and all of the sponsors for the faith they’ve shown in me.”
Covi, who won the sixth stage of the recent Tour de l’Avenir, has impressed in his two year stint in the Under23 class and showed enormous potential, making him one of the most sought after prospects in Italian cycling. He joined UAE Team Emirates as a trainee in August and will ride for Team Colpack in 2019, with the view to joining the UAE Team Emirates pro-ranks in the near future.
Commenting on the deal, Covi said “I’m very happy; I feel UAE Team Emirates will be the best team for becoming a pro rider. I won’t join the pros next season as I feel it’s better to wait for one more year, during which I’ll do my best to improve my skills as a rider.”
UAE Team Emirates continue their UCI World Tour exploits on Tuesday as they tackle the second week of the Vuelta a Espana – the final Grand Tour of the season.