McNulty and Majka among more UAE Team Emirates extensions

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - JUNE 29: (L-R) Brandon Mcnulty of United States, Rafal Majka of Poland, Mikkel Bjerg of Denmark and Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates during the Team Presentation of the 109th Tour de France 2022 at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen City / #TDF2022 / on June 29, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images,)
McNulty, Majka, Bjerg (L-R) will all join Pogačar (far right) for two more seasons (Image credit: Getty Images)

UAE Team Emirates have solidified their roster for the future, with four contract extensions announced on Friday, including Tadej Pogačar's top domestiques, Rafal Majka and Brandon McNulty

The pair have signed new two-year deals, as has Mikkel Bjerg, the Danish rouleur who also played a remarkable role in Pogačar's stage victory at Peyragudes at the the recent Tour de France

The fourth contract extension goes to Diego Ulissi, the Italian who started his career at the former iteration of the team back in 2010, when it was known as Lampre. 

UAE Team Emirates have now re-signed eight members of their current roster, after it was announced earlier this week that Matteo Trentin, Vegard Stake Laengen, Ivo Oliveira and Rui Oliveira would all be staying for one more year. 

Pogačar, despite winning three stages, tasted overall defeat for the first time at the Tour this summer, with question marks once again raised over his support network. UAE were beset by illness and injury and Pogačar was largely left to fend for himself against Jonas Vingegaard and Jumbo-Visma.

While it remains to be seen whether they try and bring in more star quality from elsewhere, they have now retained Pogačar's most impressive domestiques. Majka has established himself as the Slovenian's closest and most consistent ally at the past two Tours since joining from Bora-Hansgrohe in 2021. 

McNulty was not always up there at the Tour but when he was, on the stage to Peyragudes, he delivered the top support ride of the whole race, dropping everyone bar Pogačar and Vingegaard. On the same stage, Bjerg had also risen from seeming anonymity to shred the GC group on the preceding climb. The Dane is a former U23 world time trial champion and can provide cover on the flat and early mountains. 

Both McNulty and Bjerg turned professional with UAE Team Emirates in 2020 and their next contracts should also see them chasing more of their own ambitions. McNulty had a storming start to 2022 and is seen as a future Grand Tour contender in his own right, with leadership roles perhaps not far around the corner. 

Ulissi, meanwhile, has more than 50 victories to his name and has signed up for two more seasons that will take him through his 35th birthday. 

UAE Team Emirates have made no new signings yet for 2023 but they will wave goodbye to Rui Costa, who's off to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert.

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