UAE Team Emirates strengthen squad with three new signings

George Bennett, Alvaro Hodeg and Marc Soler sign two-year deals

UAE Team Emirates bolstered their already strong squad by signing George Bennett, Alvaro Hodeg and Marc Soler on two-year deals before the 2022 season.

George Bennett, 31, is the current New Zealand road race champion and competed for his country at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. The Kiwi will now compete for UAE Team Emirates next season, with the new contract running until the end of 2023.

Colombian Hodeg has 13 professional victories to his name since he joined the World Tour in 2018.

After signing the deal, Bennett said: “I’m really excited about my move to UAE Team Emirates. I’m looking forward to helping the team reach new heights across many races. I have seen the team take huge steps forward every year and this progression is something I really want to be a part of.

“There’s an exciting group of young guys coming through at UAE and it’s great to be joining that environment and bringing my experience to the team.”

Team principal and CEO Mauro Gianetti added: “George is one of the best climbers in the peloton and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team. He brings a lot of experience and we feel he can play a pivotal role both through his sporting qualities and also as a reference for some of our younger riders.”

The news comes after double Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar signed a new long-term contract with UAE Team Emirates, keeping him at the team until 2027.

Pogacar, 22, first joined the squad in 2019 and since then has gone on to win 29 professional races including two Tour de France titles, a monument victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and most recently an Olympic Bronze medal.

The Slovenian flew to the UAE after his Tokyo Olympics exploits to put pen to paper on his new deal, described by the team as one of the longest in the sport's history.

“I’m really happy to be able to commit my future to the team and stay here for the next years,” Pogacar had said. “I feel at home here, it feels like a big family.”

Updated: August 10th 2021, 3:27 PM