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Ulissi signs two-year extension with UAE Team Emirates

ADELAIDE AUSTRALIA JANUARY 19 Start Diego Ulissi of Italy and UAE Team Emirates during the 22nd Santos Tour Down Under Schwalbe Classic a 51km race from Adelaide to Adelaide TDU tourdownunder on January 19 2020 in Adelaide Australia Photo by Daniel KaliszGetty Images
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Diego Ulissi has signed a two-year contract extension with UAE Team Emirates that will keep him at the team until the end of the 2022 campaign. The Italian has spent his entire professional career as part of the set-up, having joined the team in 2010 when it operated as Lampre.

While the hiatus from competition due to the coronavirus pandemic has cast doubt over the sustainability of several teams, UAE Team Emirates have made a number of notable commitments to their long-term future in recent weeks.

Last week, the team announced that Tadej Pogacar had extended his contract until the end of 2024, while they have also signed 17-year-old Spanish junior champion Juan Ayuso to a five-year contract.

Ulissi enjoyed a solid 2019 campaign, winning the Tour of Slovenia and placing second at the GP de Montréal and third at both La Flèche Wallonne and the Tour de Pologne. He began 2020 with second overall at the Tour Down Under and ninth at the UAE Tour before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the season.

"I am very happy with this renewal," Ulissi said. "For years now I have been part of this team which has become a second family for me. 

"I am looking forward to continuing to work together on the UAE Team Emirates project in the next few years and as always giving 100 per cent. We are working well together and the results of the last few years back this up. I want to say thank you to Mauro Gianetti and Matxin for always believing in me and all the staff who allow me to always give my best."

Twice a world champion as a junior, the 30-year-old Ulissi has won six stages of the Giro d’Italia during a career that was interrupted by a nine-month suspension for a positive test for salbutamol on the 2014 race. The puncheur also won Milano-Torino and the Giro dell’Emilia in 2013, and the GP de Montréal in 2017.

"Diego is a very important element for our team," said UAE Team Emirates manager Mauro Gianetti. 

"He has shown an amazing consistency, performing at the highest level and has proved very reliable in that regard. On and off the bike he is proving to be a good leader, which is important for the team environment and the growth of the group as a whole."