The winner of the 2020 Flèche Wallonne was down on Team DSM’s roster for 2021, even appearing in the team’s kit launch promotional pictures before the team announced on January 5 that they had reached an agreement to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
In a team press conference in Dubai, Hirschi said: “I can’t say too much because of the settlement agreement, but the chance was there, the opportunity was there that I could leave and now I’m here I am really happy. Now we focus on the future with UAE Team Emirates and focus on the next season.”
“It came quite late but in the end they [Team DSM and UAE Team Emirates] phoned each other and I was really happy, it came late but it has worked.”
Since joining UAE Team Emirates, Hirschi has joined his team-mates in Dubai where he received the Covid-19 vaccine along with the rest of the squad. A delayed start to the 2021 season has meant the 22-year-old has had more time to acclimatise to his new team.
“I think with the situation with Coronavirus it was okay because we hadn’t started any training camps or any new bike.
“Different seasons would be more complicated but in a year like this everything starts later so there was no problem to make the change so late.
“And now I’m here, first training camp, new bike, met my new team-mates and now I start working towards the new season.”
It was looking like Hirschi was down as Team DSM’s leader for the big races this season, instead he will ride alongside Tour de France champion, Tadej Pogačar this July.
Discussing his goals for the upcoming season Hirschi said: “I don’t think they have changed a lot, I will focus on the Ardennes Classics, I will go to the Tour de France to help Tadej [Pogačar] and then the Olympics.”
“Also long term they are the same, for now I will focus on one-day races and maybe in the future, Grand Tours, but I will not put pressure on that.
“Well actually it is hard to say because we don’t know what the rules will be, for the moment it’s not the plan.
“I actually haven’t thought too much about it because they will change the rules all the time so we will have to see one month before the Tour but it is not worth putting the energy into it now.”