UAE Team Emirates have revealed their core squads for the rescheduled Grand Tours, with Tadej Pogačar, Fabio Aru, Davide Formolo and Alexander Kristoff confirmed for the Tour de France in September, while Fernando Gaviria, Diego Ulissi and American climbers Brandon McNulty and Joe Dombrowski will target the Giro d'Italia in October.
Several riders will double up and ride both the Tour and the 18-stage Vuelta a España in the second half of October, including Formolo, Aru and Spain's David de la Cruz. They will be joined by Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen and veteran Rui Costa.
Gaviria was originally expected to target the Tour de France sprints, but he was struck by the COVID-19 coronavirus in the final days of the UAE Tour in late February. He spent a long spell in quarantine in a UAE hospital and was eventually able to return home to Colombia on April 8. After serving a period of quarantine in Colombia, he has been able to return to training in his hometown of La Ceja, close to Medellín.
Twenty-one-year-old Pogačar finished third overall at the 2019 Vuelta a España, elevating him to Grand Tour contender status. However, he recently played down expectations for this year's rescheduled race.
"Everything is up in the air, but if there is a Tour de France this year, it's too early to think of a GC result for me. I expect to prepare well, and I'll do everything that I can, but I can't start talking about results," Pogačar told Cyclingnews.
"Of course, I want to race there and to be with the best, and to try to attack, but I know that it's going to be difficult. It could be even tougher because a lot of riders who were down for the Giro and the Vuelta will probably head to the Tour now. It means that the competition will be even bigger."
UAE Team Emirates said that each line-up has "mixed goals with a good balance of climbers, sprinters and versatile stage-hunters". The full line-ups for the eight-rider squads will be named in the weeks to come in the countdown to the races.
"We are cautious but also optimistic. The solidarity within the team has been a great asset throughout this period, and we aim to carry that forward as we move back to racing," team manager Mauro Gianetti said.
"A huge amount of work has been done by the team behind the scenes, along with the help of our sponsors, to ensure a viable safety protocol for when the racing returns.
"The prospect of racing again soon is an exciting one for the team, the sponsors and also for the fans. The riders themselves are more motivated than ever with this new calendar."
UAE Team Emirates for the Tour de France: Fabio Aru, Tadej Pogačar, Davide Formolo, David De la Cruz, Alexander Kristoff
UAE Team Emirates for the Giro d’Italia: Fernando Gaviria, Maximiliano Richeze, Sebastian Molano, Brandon McNulty, Joe Dombrowski, Valerio Conti, Diego Ulissi
UAE Team Emirates for the Vuelta España: David De la Cruz, Davide Formolo, Fabio Aru, Jasper Philipsen, Rui Costa
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