UAE Team Emirates have been riding in the peloton since 2017, after the team took over the Lampre–Merida licence. It was quite a challenge for the team to win during its first year, however the squad has a line-up for the 2019 season which could well cause some fireworks. These are the most important riders.

Alexander Kristoff

On paper, Alexander Kristoff has his best years behind him. He is well-known as an excellent sprinter, winning the Milan–San Remo in 2014 and the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2015. He has also won three stages in the Tour de France, the most recent of which was in 2018. And that wasn’t any stage: he crossed the line first on the Champs-Élysées! He showed very well how he still beat the best out there. In 2019, he is riding in several of the Spring Classics and is also riding the Tour de France again.

UAE Team Emirates

Alexander Kristoff winning the final stage of the Tour de France in 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Fernando Gaviria

While Alexander Kristoff’s palmares is certainly impressive, Fernando Gaviria is seen as the team’s best sprinter. Gaviria moved from the Belgian Deceuninck–Quick-Step team in 2019. While riding for Quick-Step, he won four stages in the Giro d’Italia and two stages in the Tour de France. He was also regularly the best sprinter in the Tirreno–Adriatico and the Tour of Poland. In 2019, he has already won several stages in the Vuelta a San Juan Internacional in Argentina. And Gaviria is still young, at 24 years old. In 2019 we will see him in Paris Roubaix, the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

Fernando Gaviria winning in Argentina in 2019. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Fabio Aru

Fabio Aru first rode for UAE Team Emirates in 2018, after riding for several years for Astana. In 2015 he won the Tour of Spain and in 2017 he was 5th in the Tour de France. His 2018 season, however, was one to forget. He didn’t really ride any decent results, which is rather thin for a rider with ambitions to win general classifications. In 2019, he is aiming for the Giro d’Italia and hopefully we will see some of the Aru we first got to know in 2014 and 2015. He is still only 28 years old, which is relatively young for a general classification rider.

 

A disappointed Fabio Aru. A scene we witnessed a little too often in 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Rui Costa

Rui Costa is a rider who you always have to look out for during hilly races. He became World Cycling Champion in 2013 and has won the Tour of Switzerland three times. He has also won three stages in the Tour de France, and in 2017 he won the Tour of Abu Dhabi. In 2018 he had some health issues, preventing him from booking any significant results. He only really showed his class during the Tour of Romandie, where he ended 5th in the general classification. In 2019 he has a busy spring, including many of the one-week stage races and the hilly classics.

Rui Costa during Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Dan Martin

Dan Martin is a rider who doesn’t know the meaning of giving up. During the 2018 Tour de France he attacked all the time, basically, yet didn’t succeed in breaking away from the pack. Nevertheless, it earned him a very respectable 8th place in the Tour de France and he won the stage on the Muur de Bretagne. The Irishman also has won both Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Tour of Lombardie. In 2019 he will ride the Tour de France and will once more do his very best to play a key role in the general classification.

Dan Martin winning his stage in the Tour de France 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos