UAE Team Emirates have gathered in the United Arab Emirates for a get together as the team plans and prepares for the 2019 season.
Fernando Gaviria was among the new signings to travel to the UAE to meet his new teammates. Gaviria moved to UAE Team Emirates after ending his contract with Quick-Step Floors a year early. He is expected to share sprinting duties with Alexander Kristoff.
Other new riders joining UAE Team Emirates for 2019 include Tom Bohli (from BMC Racing), Sergio Henao (Team Sky), Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzana-Postobon), Jasper Philipsen and Rui and Ivo Oliveira (Hagens Berman-Axeon), plus Tour de L'Avenir winner Tadej Pogacar of Slovenian and Cristian Munoz of Colombia. Rui Costa and Diego Ulissi have both extended their contracts with the team.
Team leaders Dan Martin, Fabio Aru, Rui Costa and Kristoff all attended the get together, with riders mixing team building activities with planning and rides with local cyclists.
The 28 riders and directeur sportif planned their 2019 race calendars, underwent medical check-ups and tested new clothing and equipment. They also met with sponsors and rode with children from the Special Olympics and the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club. Some riders also gave cycling lessons to children from the Al Yasmina School.
The team also visited the desert at dawn, the Sheikh Zayed in Abu Dhabi mosque and the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in central Dubai.
UAE Team Emirates won 12 races in 2018 with Dan Martin winning on the Mur de Bretagne at the Tour de France and Alexander Kristoff on the Champs Elysees. Martin was also eighth overall but Aru struggled to be competitive at the Giro d'Italia and eventual quit the race. He rode the Vuelta a España but struggled to make an impact and crashed on stage 17. He ended his season at the Tour of Guangxi in China.