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Richeze re-joins UAE Team Emirates until end of Giro d'Italia

Argentinian road race champion Max Richeze receives a word in his ear from UAE Team Emirates teammate Fernando Gaviria ahead of stage 4 of the 2020 Vuelta a San Juan
Max Richeze (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Max Richeze has re-joined UAE Team Emirates on a temporary contract that runs until the end of the Giro d’Italia in May. The Argentinian’s WorldTour career appeared to be over when his contract was not renewed at the end of 2021, but an injury to new arrival Alvaro Hodeg saw UAE Team Emirates approach Richeze with a short-term contract.

“It was an easy decision for me to make and I look forward to pinning on a race number again,” Richeze said in a statement released by UAE Team Emirates on Tuesday.

UAE Team Emirates first signed Richeze at the start of the 2020 season, bringing him across to serve as Fernando Gaviria’s lead-out man, a role he had previously performed at QuickStep. Richeze raced the Giro a in each of his first two seasons at UAE Team Emirates, though Gaviria struggled for form across the two campaigns after twice testing positive for COVID-19 in 2020.

For 2022, UAE Team Emirates have signed Pascal Ackermann as the team’s lead sprinter, though Gaviria remains at the team. While Ackermann has intimated that he will race the Vuelta a España this season, Gaviria’s Grand Tour plans have yet to be confirmed.

“I’m pleased to be coming back and able to help the team where I’ve already spent two great years,” Richeze said. 

“It’s a special group of people at the team and I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me by Mauro [Gianetti] to return and bow out from cycling in the way I want. It seems fitting to end my career here.”

A professional since 2006, Richeze began as a sprinter and he was awarded two stages at the 2007 Giro when Alessandro Petacchi was stripped of his results, but he eventually transitioned into the role of lead-out man, enjoying spells at Lampre and QuickStep before moving to UAE Team Emirates.

The 38-year-old was set to race for Argentinian Continental outfit Chimas te Quiero in 2022, though he told Ciclismo Internacional that he still held out hope of receiving an offer to race for one more season at WorldTour level before hanging up his wheels.

An opportunity arose for Richeze to re-join UAE Team Emirates when it emerged that Hodeg – a new signing from QuickStep – would miss the opening months of the 2022 season due to wrist and ankle injuries.

“The absence of Hodeg left us with a gap to fill and Richeze is the right person for that role,” said team manager Mauro Gianetti. “He knows the atmosphere and the structure of the team already and doesn’t need any introduction in that regard. We’ve also seen from his recent performances at home racing in Argentina that he is in really good shape so it’s a logical move for us. I know Max is really pleased about it too.

“At the same time we are wishing Alvaro all the best with his recovery, it was a heavy injury but we are confident that he can bounce back strong in the second half of this year to his former high level.” 

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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.