Gaviria to stay with UAE Team Emirates

Tour de Pologne 2021 78th Edition 3rd stage Sanok Rzeszow 2264 km 11082021 Fernando Gaviria COL UAE Team Emirates photo Dario BelingheriBettiniPhoto2021
Gaviria ended a long drought with a win at the recent Tour de Pologne (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Despite a difficult couple of seasons, Fernando Gaviria has been handed a one-year contract renewal at UAE Team Emirates

The Colombian is one of four riders who have just extended their stays at the team, along with Rui Costa, Alessandro Covi, and Jan Polanc. 

Gaviria joined UAE Team Emirates in 2019 after breaking his contract at Deceuninck-QuickStep, where he'd won two stages on his Tour de France debut, but he has been unable to replicate the storming success of his early years. After a disappointing first year with the team, he was derailed by the pandemic, during which he contracted COVID-19 twice. 

Gaviria was winless at this year's Giro d'Italia but recently bagged his first victory in almost a year at the Tour de Pologne.

"We all know that Gaviria is a world class sprinter and on his day he can beat anybody. What we want to see now, and what we are hoping, is to have that consistency and dependability that we know he can deliver," said UAE manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez 

"We are very happy to see him continue with us in the team and we want to see the best version of him going forward next year."

Gaviria will no longer shoulder the bulk of the team's sprinting ambitions. Alexander Kristoff is moving to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, but UAE are welcoming Pascal Ackermann from Bora-Hansgrohe and Gaviria's compatriot Alvaro Hodeg from Deceuninck-QuickStep. 

The team have also signed Joao Almeida from QuickStep, George Bennett from Jumbo-Visma, and Marc Soler from Movistar in what has been a busy transfer window so far. Gaviria was one of four renewals announced on Monday as they move closer to finalising their roster for 2022. 

Former world champion Rui Costa, who joined the team when they took over the old Lampre-Merida set-up in 2017 and claimed their first victories, has also signed up for one more year.

“In the case of Rui Costa we’ve seen him take on a new challenge in his long and successful career," said Matxin. "Rui is a former world champion and has enjoyed many great results so to see him convert that talent and expertise to help the team and a leader like Tadej, as we saw in the Tour where he filled an important role, we know we can rely on him for that.” 

Another rider to sign a new one-year deal is Jan Polanc, the 29-year-old Slovenian who has also been part of the team since 2017. There is, however, a longer-term extension for 22-year-old Italian Covi, who turned professional with the team last year and made an impressive Grand Tour debut at this year's Giro d'Italia.

"Covi is part of the new generation of riders who love to attack and really animate a race," said Matxin. "We believe he is a rider who can win many races and in the next years and are convinced he will show that.”

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