Rui Costa and Dan Martin are among eight riders named by Team Emirates for Tour De France.
UAE Team Emirates has announced a grand team for the season’s biggest Grand Tour, as eight riders gear up to take on the 2019 Tour de France which gets underway from July 6 to 28.
The headline acts include Tour de France 2018 stage winners, Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff, former World Champion Rui Costa and, continuing his comeback from injury, former Italian National Champion Fabio Aru.
The four riders will be supported by Norwegian National Champion Vegard Stake Laengen, his compatriot Sven Erik Bystrom, Sergio Henao and Tour de France debutant, Jasper Philipsen.
Commenting on his selection, last year’s Stage 21 winner Kristoff said: “I’ll be going to this Tour with the objective of trying to win a stage, as well as reliving the emotions of last year.
“This season my form has been better than the past few years, but the level of all the top riders is so high that simply being in good condition is not enough, you also need enormous determination and a little luck.”
It’s a fifth consecutive Tour de France for UAE Team Emirates’ Dan Martin, who added: “I’m really excited to get racing again at the Tour.
“I feel good in training and the Dauphiné went really well, even if we didn’t see the same aggressive racing in the mountains that we normally do.
“I’ve come out of the Dauphine well and I like the look of the course this year, plus we have a super strong team with a lot of different options and cards to play. I’m just looking forward to getting started now.”
Commenting on his return to fitness, Aru said: “After months of absence from racing, I recently rediscovered that spark and feel read to test my condition. “
The feedback on my recovery is encouraging, I feel good and it has led to my selection for the Tour de France.
“I will not be in France to worry about the General Classification, but the Grande Boucle will be an exciting new chapter as I look to reignite my season.
“I expect that my performance will improve step by step, and I will fight to be competitive and help the overall objectives of the team, aiming for a stage win if the conditions are right.”
The opening stage – nicknamed the Grand Depart – will for a second time in history take place in Belgium.
The stage will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx’s first victory at the Tour and marks the 100th year anniversary since the iconic Yellow Jersey was first introduced.
The riders will then take on another 19 stages across three weeks of racing, before the traditional procession in Paris on the Champs-Elysees.
UAE Team Emirates’ Yousif Mirza will be looking to recapture some form as the Emirati joins his teammates at the Tour of Turkey (April 16-21). The UAE National Champion most recently turned out for UAE Team Emirates at the Giro di Sicilia, but will be hoping for more luck this time around.
The Ardennes Classics continues on Wednesday with UAE Team Emirates announcing a stellar line-up to take on La Fleche Wallonne and the fourth Monument of the season -- Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Spearheading the team of seven riders will be Dan Martin. The Irishman picked up the race victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013,
UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi recorded his highest ever finish at the Ardennes Classics, picking up a spot on the podium at La Flèche Wallonne.
L’Aquila: Pello Bilbao shook off the other survivors of a long breakaway in the final kilometre into L’Aquila to win Friday’s seventh stage as UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti held on to top spot of the overall leaderboard at the Giro d’Italia.
The victory lifted the Spanish Astana
Manchester United powered into fourth place in the Premier League with a 5-2 rout of struggling Bournemouth, while Leicester got back on track in a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Valtteri Bottas survived a high-speed spin as he upstaged Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with a sizzling display on Saturday to claim pole position for Sunday's delayed season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
Ittihad Kalba continued their shopping spree in an extended summer transfer window with the fifth signing of the season as they roped in centre-back Mubarak Saeed.