UAE Team Emirates have extended Juan Ayuso’s contract until the end of 2028, ensuring the the talented young Spanish riders follows in the footsteps of Tadej Pogačar and Brandon McNulty during the next six seasons.
Pogačar, Filippo Ganna and Tom Pidcock all have long-term contracts that last until the end of 2027. However Ayuso’s new deal means he has the longest contract in the WorldTour as the biggest teams in the peloton use their financial advantage to lockdown the best young riders on long-term contracts.
19-year-old Ayuso turned professional last summer with UAE Team Emirates after dominating the Giro Baby. He was born in Barcelona but spent his early years in Atlanta, Georgia as his father moved to the USA and then back to Spain for work. He calls Jávea near Alicante home.
Ayuso is not expected to make his Grand Tour debut in 2022 but is considered a future Grand Tour contender and one of Spanish biggest talents alongside 21-year-old Carlos Rodríguez of Ineos Grenadiers.
His future rivals include Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Leo Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ).
Ayuso showed his potential last week by winning the Circuito de Getxo race. He finished fifth in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and fourth at the Tour de Romandie.
Ayuso went head to head with Pogačar during UAE Team Emirates’ pre-season training camp, with the Spaniard describing the two-time Tour de France winner as "a point of reference" and saying that he hopes to one day match his level of success.
"Training with Pogačar is a great experience. He is the best in the world and I am lucky to ride with him. He is a point of reference, I want to follow in his footsteps, I have to take advantage of it, learning from him is a luxury," Ayuso said.
"He is at another level, but he sees himself in me and that is why we get along well, I am very grateful."
In the last few days UAE Team Emirates have confirmed contract extensions for Rafal Majka, Mikkel Bjerg and McNulty after their vital work for Pogačar at the recent Tour de France. Diego Ulissi has also been given a new two-year contract with Matteo Trentin, Vegard Stake Laengen, Ivo Oliveira and Rui Oliveira all confirmed for 2023.
“Ayuso joined the team midway through 2021 with the 19-year-old part of the team’s long term plan to develop young talented riders,” UAE Team Emirates explained.
“The young Spaniard will now look to continue his development alongside the Emirati squad for the foreseeable future.”
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.