Viviani rules out breaking Team Sky contract to join UAE Team Emirates

Italian sprinter looking for strong end to the season

Elia Viviani has confirmed that he will race for Team Sky after August 1 and that he will remain with the British WorldTour team in 2018. Reports in July had suggested that after missing out on a spot at the Giro d'Italia the Italian would make a mid-season transfer to UAE Team Emirates and race with them for the remainder of the season and into 2018.

At the RideLondon Classic Viviani put the speculation of a mid-season – and a switch in 2018 – to bed and insisted that he would honour his contract with Team Sky for next season.

"I'm happy at Team Sky. Absolutely, I was disappointed to miss the Grand Tours and the Giro, we all know that, but I really hope to do those races next season," he told Cyclingnews.

During the Tour de France respected Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport had reported that Viviani had agreed a two-year deal with UAE and that Team Sky was willing to let him leave. On those specific reports, Viviani added, "I'm not interested in what they say. They need to show attention to what they put in the paper because they said it was an official report but it wasn't true."

When asked if he would go to UAE in 2018 Viviani said: "No, no no. I'm happy with Team Sky, and I have one more year left on my contract. I signed with them last year."

Cyclingnews asked if he was 100 per cent certain on remaining with Team Sky. "Yes. I don't want to talk more than this but yes."

Next goal: the European Road Race championships

Viviani finished 11th in RideLondon after some poor positioning cost him in the sprint finish. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) claimed the win, but Viviani has a number of important targets for the remainder of the season, including the European Road Race Championships, and the hope of moving his win tally from four to 10 by the time he hangs up his wheels for the winter.

"The big goal is the European Championships next week. I feel good," he told Cyclingnews.

"We tried some moves with Pete Kennaugh on the climbs, and the team did their best to put me in the best position, but I was too far back in the sprint. I tried but I've got good feelings for next weekend, where I'll have a big lead-out train."

"After the European Championships I go to the Eneco Tour (now known as the BinckBank Tour) and the Hamburg Classic and some other one-day races before doing the Tour of Britain. There will be some Italian one-day races at the end too but the season does end for me around the start of October."

For inspiration, Viviani will draw on his 2015 campaign. That season he picked up three stage wins in the Tour of Britain and two at the Abu Dhabi Tour to finish the season strongly.

"I have four wins so far this year, and I want to finish on 10. I know that's a big goal, but there's a good chance with the races I have on my programme. We're going to try and keep this group together with Doull, Dibben and the rest. They're a good bunch of guys to lead me out. I want to end my season like I did in 2015. I had five wins there in the last month, and I'd like the same this year."

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