UAE Team Emirates have announced that they will be taking over the Alé-BTC-Ljubljana women's team in 2022.
Merging ranks with a team that is already in the highest division of women's cycling means that UAE Team Emirates will very likely be in the top tier without having to wait for promotion like the teams of Jumbo-Visma, Cofidis and Uno-X.
It is not yet know whether the team will have the same riders leading line, with the likes of Marta Bastianelli, Eugenia Bujak and Mavi García all coming to the end of their contracts, while Marlen Reusser joins SD Worx.
UAE Team Emirates principal, Mauro Gianetti, said in a team announcement: "We are pleased to announce that we are working to create a female team to compete on the world stage as part of the UAE ambition to develop cycling, in support of a global project that started back in 2017.
"Together with the Alé-BTC-Ljubljana Team we have found the right opportunity and the availability we were looking for and, in collaboration with the UCI, we are preparing all the necessary documents for the completion of the acquisition of the WorldTour licence starting from January 1, 2022.
"In the coming weeks we will have the definitive framework and we will be ready to present the project."
This means that yet another men's WorldTour team joins the women's peloton as they head into the 2022 season and the return of the women's Tour de France.
The men's team has won the last two men's editions of the Tour with Tadej Pogačar.
This announcement may come as a surprise to some however, as the United Arab Emirates have been well known to have limited rights for women.
According to Human Rights Watch, the UAE have stepped in the right direction with rights for women but still had a very long way to go to overcome the significant discrimination against women and girls.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) have made multiple recommendations to the UAE as to how to improve their system in 2015.
Since then, the UAE have made reform on prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in the country’s anti-discrimination law as well as revoking the law of which a woman must "obey" their husbands, which gave men the legal right to 'discipline' his wife and children and punished relations outside of marriage.
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