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UAE Team Emirates set to take over Alé BTC Ljubljana women’s team for 2022

Marta Bastianelli (Ale BTC Ljubljana)
Marta Bastianelli (Ale BTC Ljubljana) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Cyclingnews understands that UAE Team Emirates are close to completing a deal to take over the Alé BTC Ljubljana women’s team to add a women’s programme to their successful men’s team for 2022.

Both teams will be registered as WorldTour teams in 2022, with many of the current roster staying on board and racing in the UAE Team Emirates colours and on Colnago bikes.

Tadej Pogačar’s partner Urška Žigart could also join the team from Team BikeExchange after riding for Alé BTC Ljubljana in 2020. Current team leaders at Alé BTC Ljubljana include Italy’s Marta Bastianelli, Swiss rider Marlen Reusser and Spain's Mavi Garcia, though Reusser has agreed to join SD Worx for 2021.

Pogačar, Matteo Trentin, Brandon McNulty and Fernando Gaviria lead the men’s team, with João Almeida, Marc Soler, Pascal Ackermann and George Bennett joining for 2022.

Cyclingnews understands that team owners in the UAE pushed to add a women’s team. Team management began to work for 2023 but have been forced to accelerate their plans for the 2022 season.

UAE Team Emirates team manager Mauro Gianetti played down that the takeover would happen in time for 2022 to Cyclingnews at Il Lombardia but several other sources confirmed it will happen due to the desire of the team backers in the Middle East.

UAE Team Emirates will emulate Trek-Segafredo, Jumbo-Visma, Movistar, Team DSM, Team BikeExchange, Lotto Soudal and Groupama-FDJ. All have successful women’s teams alongside their men’s teams, often sharing resources and with riders training together. Cofidis will add a women's team in 2022.

The recent inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes boosted the profile of women’s cycling and the return of the women’s Tour de France in the summer of 2022 is expected to further develop the sport and address the imbalance between men’s and women’s salaries, prize money, visibility and status.

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