Dubai, United Arab Emirates - 20, August 2019: With less than a week to go until the 74th edition of the Vuelta a Espana begins, UAE Team Emirates has revealed its eight man squad for the last Grand Tour of the season.
The group is packed full of experience, with 45 Grand Tours between the riders – 14 of which have been earned at the Vuelta. It will be led by Fabio Aru and Fernando Gaviria, who will have support from a well-rounded team, including the up and coming Slovenian talent Tadej Pogacar who will earn his first ever Grand Tour cap.
The squad is topped off with the Italian trio of Valerio Conti, Oliviero Troia and Marco Marcato, as well as the Columbian duo of Sergio Henao and Juan Sebastian Molano. The riders will be guided by Andrej Hauptman, Bruno Vicino and Paolo Tiralongo – along with team GM, Joxean Matxin.
Matxin: “At the Vuelta we will be able to count on a very strong team, which offers us many possibilities depending on how the race unfolds. We will be able to aim for the sprint stages with Fernando Gaviria who we know can do well there. For the general classification there will be Fabio Aru, whose condition has grown a lot and approaches the Vuelta with great concentration and determination. The choice was made also that the talented Tadej Pogačar will make his debut after proving this year that he is not only a contender for the future but for the present also. Along with the remaining riders, we believe we have a complete and balanced team to give the necessary support to achieve our goals'.
The 21 stages of this year's Vuelta will kick off with a 13.4km Team Time Trial in Torrevieja on Saturday and run until the final sprint stage in Madrid on 15th September. Along the way there are six flat stages, a 36.2km Individual Time Trial, three lumpy stages, and nine mountain stages – eight of which feature summit finishes.
Gaviria: 'I am happy to make my debut in an important race like the Vuelta, the only Grand Tour I have never participated in. There aren't many stages for the sprinters, and we'll have to take our chances when we can - this is what makes the Vuelta even more challenging and stimulating”.
Aru: 'As always, the Vuelta a España represents an important and stimulating challenge, both in terms of the route and the quality of the start list. I'm excited and ready to race, especially since the operation I had four months ago. The goal is to compete at high level but also to be consistent”.
Pogačar: 'I am really excited to be able to participate in my first Grand Tour, I can't wait to be on the starting ramp of the team time trial and start this new challenge. I will be in Spain with the aim of learning as much as possible, understanding how to move in the bunch in such an important race and how to manage it over the three weeks. It's the only way I can start building something good for the next few years'.