UAE Team Emirates extend with Costa and Sutherland

UAE Team Emirates have extended the contracts of Rui Costa and Rory Sutherland, the team announced on Tuesday. Both riders have added a single year to their existing contracts.

Costa has been with the team since their time as Lampre, joining in 2014 after wrapping up the world road race title the year before. There were early successes with the team for the Portuguese rider, with victory at the 2014 Tour de Suisse and podium places at the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice. In 2016, he made the podium at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and last year he won the overall classification at the Abu Dhabi Tour.

This season has been somewhat more challenging, with a knee injury plaguing his summer and illness affecting the opening part of the year. He did not ride a Grand Tour, choosing to end his season with a series of one-day races rather than head to the Vuelta a España. He did, however, manage 10th in the road race at the World Championships in Innsbruck.

The team state that their medical staff believe that Costa’s knee troubles are behind him. Next season, Costa will be an experienced head in a strengthened squad for the Ardennes Classics after the team signed Sergio Henao from Team Sky. Fellow former Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Dan Martin joined the team at the start of this season.

Sutherland stays on board

Sutherland has been with the team for just a year after moving from Movistar at the start of this season. The 36-year-old Australian has plenty of racing experience after turning professional with Rabobank in 2005.

As well as experience, Sutherland has proved himself an important domestique in recent years, pulling on the front of the peloton for long periods of time.  

Despite turning professional over a decade ago, Sutherland only contested his first Grand Tour at the 2015 Vuelta a España. He has since completed the set after making his debut at the Tour de France in July this year, where the team took two stage wins in the first and final weeks thanks to Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff.

The extension of Costa and Sutherland brings the number of confirmed riders for UAE Team Emirates to 25. Including Henao, the team have made just four signings so far, choosing to shore up their roster rather with a number of extensions.

There is still room for a few more signings and the team is reportedly close to penning a deal with sprinter Fernando Gaviria.

The Colombian is currently at Quick-Step Floors but Patrick Lefevere's struggle to find a sponsor forced him to let several key riders go during the summer. The Belgian team struck a late deal with window manufacturer Deceuninck but Gaviria could still leave and move to UAE Team Emirates to reduce the team's wage bill. 

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