One of cycling's biggest names is tipped to join UAE Team Emirates
An Italian Olympic gold medal winner is rumoured to be signing for the country’s professional cycling team next month
The UAE’s pro cycling team, UAE Team Emirates, could be adding one of the sport’s biggest names to its line-up – Team Sky sprinter Elia Viviani.
The Italian, a gold medal winner at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has reportedly fallen out with his current squad Team Sky (who have three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome on their books) and will join the UAE’s team on August 1, according to Italy’s cycling press.
If the transfer takes place, it’ll be a major coup for UAE Team Emirates, pictured below racing at Yas Marina Circuit – the team isn’t even a year old, but won its first major race, The Abu Dhabi Tour, back in February. The team is currently competing in the sport’s biggest event, the Tour de France.
Viviani, it’s been reported, wants to move after being left out of Sky’s squad for the gruelling Giro d’Italia race in May.
So what do the team have to say about it? A UAE Team Emirates spokesperson told What’s On: “In order to improve the quality of the roster, our team is evaluating various riders whose contracts are going to expire in 2017 and Viviani is one of them, however at this moment it’s too early to talk about a negotiation or a deal.”
If Viviani does sign, he’ll be joining a team with plenty of stars already, including Portuguese racer Rui Costa (winner of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour), British talent Ben Swift and South African climber Louis Meintjes, who finished eighth at last year’s Tour de France.