UAE Team Emirates has already enjoyed a successful day at the Giro d’Italia as rider Jan Polanc won stage four of the Giro d’Italia on the summit of Mount Etna. The team had already shined in previous days as Roberto Ferrari claimed second place on Stage 2; and Sacha Modolo claimed a place inside the top five after the first stage.
Fly Emirates sponsors UAE Abu Dhabi cycling team for the first time; this represents one of the most significant sponsorship deals in cycling’s recent history, especially for the Emirates that sets to fly high at Giro d’Italia, like it did at the Abu Dhabi Tour. The UAE’s first-ever professional cycling team, the UAE Team Emirates, was presented at a press conference during the media launch at the Crown Plaza, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi on Tuesday February 21, 2017.
UAE Abu Dhabi along with Bahrain Merida becomes the first Middle Eastern teams to be part of the 2017 WorldTour calendar. The team already experienced success at the four-day race Abu Dhabi Tour on 23-26 February when its captain, Portuguese rider Rui Costa, already world champion in 2013, granted it its first World Tour General Classification (GC) title. Rui Costa was awarded the red jersey on the podium at the completion of the multi-stage bicycle races.
The Giro d’Italia is a multi-stage race (21) with 3 rest days in between before ending in Milan on May 28. Costa, 30, said: “This will be my first participation at the Giro, I’m excited, motivated and looking forward to a competitive debut at the 100th edition of this race.” Rui will give his best to win some stages this year at Centennial Giro D’Italia, which started May 5th.
Joining Rui Costa in the UAE Team Emirates line-up are sprinter Sacha Modolo (Italian racing cyclist) and Jan Polanc (Slovenian), who both claimed stage wins at the 2015 Giro; alongside them are Marco Marcato, Matej Mohoric, Valerio Conti, Roberto Ferrari, Simone Petilli, and Edward Ravasi to complete the nine-member team riding Italian-made Colnago bikes in the race.
UAE Team Emirates was, until last year, Lampre Merida. Now the sponsor has changed. Team captain Costa said, “We are thrilled because this is very big sponsor, so it was a pleasant surprise for us.” He told how adding the big brand, however, also brings in more responsibility.
Cycling enthusiasts might want to follow the Giro d’Italia closely as UAE Team Emirates (uaeteamemirates.com) is sure to be a contender this year, says general manager Giuseppe Saronni – an renowned Italian cycler who won two editions of the Giro D’Italia. The Emirati road bicycle racing team cannot be missed when riding in the group as the cyclers have the United Arab Emirates marking displayed all over their jerseys. The Emirates slogan appears on the chest of the jersey decorated with the green, white, black and red of the UAE flag.
Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, the divisional senior vice president of commercial operations at Fly Emirates, said: “For us, it’s an opportunity. Emirates has always been involved in sport, however, in the last two years, cycling has seen tremendous growth, in terms of fans and people watching it here. Here in the UAE, I think almost every house has a bike in it. We always select the best and we feel the team is the best to associate ourselves with. It’s a huge opportunity to present United Arab Emirates as a country.”