WorldTour squad UAE Team Emirates has confirmed a reduced 25-rider roster for the 2018 season. In 2017, the team had 29 riders on its books.
The team has added European champion Alexander Kristoff, Italian champion Fabio Aru, and Dan Martin among others, making UAE Team Emirates one of the most active in the transfer market before concluding its business. With the new additions, general manager Carlo Saronni recently told Cyclingnews the aim is to win a Grand Tour and become "a very top team" by 2020.
Along with the confirmed incoming and outgoing riders, there has also been several changes in management. Aru's former teammate Paolo Tiralongo joins as an assistant director sportif, while Bahrain-Merida DS Philippe Mauduit and Joxean Matxin reunite with several of their former Lampre-Merida riders and colleagues.
In its debut season, the team enjoyed overall WorldTour wins at the Abu Dhabi Tour with Rui Costa, and the Tour of Turkey with Diego Ulissi. The team also enjoyed a Giro d'Italia stage win via Jan Polanc, and Matej Mohoric won stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana.There was further WorldTour success with outgoing Sacha Modolo winning a stage of the Tour de Pologne, while Ulissi also won the GP de Montreal. In total, UAE Team Emirates won 19 races in the 2017 season.
Along with Aru, Kristoff and Martin, Rory Sutherland (Movistar), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha-Alpecin), and Alexandr Riabushenko (Neo-Pro) join from 2018. In August, UAE Team Emirates also announced contract extensions with Matteo Bono, Kristijan Durasek, Roberto Ferrari, Simone Petilli, Simone Consonni, Valerio Conti, Marco Marcato.
The outgoing riders from UAE Team Emirates are Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida), Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data), Andrea Guardini (Bardiani CSF), Marko Kump (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Frederico Zurlo and Przemyslaw Niemiec.
The announcement of a reduced squad is in keeping with fellow WorldTour team BMC Racing who will field a 24-rider team in 2018. A reduction of team sizes in the WorldTour from 2018, including a decrease from nine to eight in the Grand Tours, is likely to see other teams also cut rosters.
UAE Team Emirates for 2018: Anass Ait el Abdia, Fabio Aru, Darwin Atapuma, Matteo Bono, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Simone Consonni, Valerio Conti, Rui Costa, Kristijan Durasek, Roberto Ferrari, Filippo Ganna, Alexander Kristoff, Vegard Stake Laengen, Marco Marcato, Daniel Martin, Yousif Mirza, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Jan Polanc, Edward Ravasi, Aleksandr Riabushenko, Rory Sutherland, Ben Swift, Oliviero Troia, and Diego Ulissi.