UAE look to bolster GC ambitions with big name signings

UAE Team Emirates look set to announce the signing of Fabio Aru in the coming days, with Dan Martin and Domenico Pozzovivo also possibly joining the team.

Cycling Weekly understands that Aru has already inked a deal already with the Arab team, with Martin and Pozzovivo also possibly a part of the planned announcement.

“Many teams want them would like to have them,” team manager Carlo Saronni told Italian website Tutto Bici when asked about Pozzovivo and Martin.

“Negotiations are underway, some things have yet to be defined, but in the coming weeks, or rather, in the coming days, we can say precisely. Let’s say that at least a couple of riders are near the finish line and soon our backers will celebrate the arrival of new high quality, winning, riders.”

>>> Cycling transfers: All the ins and outs from the WorldTour

Quick-Step Floors rider Martin rode to sixth place behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the Tour de France last month, and has been linked with a move to UAE Team Emirates for a number of weeks

Another possibility is that Martin signs with Trek-Segafredo, the American WorldTour team being in search of another GC rider after Alberto Contador announced he will retire after the Vuelta a España.

Pozzovivo could potentially add climbing strength to the Grand Tour team that UAE would take to the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France to support Martin and Aru. Cycling Weekly understands the deal is nearly ready to bring the Italian from Ag2r La Mondiale.


Watch: Vuelta a España essential guide


The team, run by Saronni’s father Giuseppe, is also bringing on board sprinter and Classics rider Alexander Kristoff. However South African stage race talent Louis Meintjes will leave the team after it was announced that he will ride for Dimension Data from 2018.

Aru would leave Astana after six years, a spell which included a Vuelta a España title in 2015 and a runner-up spot in the 2015 Giro d’Italia. He recently placed fifth overall in the Tour after suffering with illness in the final week.

“That we are interested in him is no longer a mystery, who would not like to put the class of Aru into a team project? For such an important rider it is right to prepare a proper proposal in every detail, at the moment, I can only confirm that we are working to develop the best possible proposal,” Saronni said.

>>> Fabio Aru confirmed as Astana leader for upcoming Vuelta a España

“The operation is complex because it involves a broader project with more people. We need to find the right balance between our team’s needs and the priorities that Aru has repeatedly mentioned as necessary to enable him to reach the maximum goals.

“In short, work is under way to arrive at a proposal that takes into account what I have just mentioned. We are almost ready to present our proposal to the Sardinian: a comprehensive, complex and complete project.”