Davide Formolo: UAE Team Emirates is a close-knit group – it's one of the main factors for our success

In this week's column, the Italian rider explains why Tadej Pogacar is his 'dream' teammate

UAE Tour 2021 - 3rd Edition - 5th stage Fujairah Marine Club - Jebel Jais 170 km - 25/02/2021 - Davide Formolo (ITA - UAE Team Emirates) - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

We’ve had a great start to the season. From the Tirreno-Adriatico win to the UAE Tour victory, the season is going really well, and we couldn’t have started much better.

The UAE Tour is a race that we'd planned for for a long time and Tadej [Pogacar] rode the perfect race. It's a race that is important to us for obvious reasons and we were happy we were able to do our fans and sponsors proud. The UAE is a fantastic place to come and visit and I'm very proud to be wearing the UAE colours on my jersey.

Tadej has led from the front in those two races, winning both in style. He is my dream teammate. He’s a young, talented, humble rider and is the number one rider in the world right now. Even though he is still so young, we’re all able to learn so much from him.

Since the Tour de France win, he's been proving to everyone how strong he is and riding way beyond his years. It's an absolute pleasure to ride with him and a pleasure to be racing for UAE Team Emirates team.

Watching Tadej win the Tour de France was one of the most memorable moments of my career. I fought together with him in the early parts of the Tour but had to watch the moment he stepped onto the podium on the television! I crashed and broke my collar bone and was forced to leave the team a few days before.

After training for the race with him during lockdown in Monaco last year and battling so hard together on the mountains, to see such a young guy reach the level of cycling is a dream and I couldn’t be happier for him.

We’re lucky to have a really close-knit group of guys in the team. I think it’s important and one of the contributing factors to our recent success. There are no egos or riders with bad attitudes – even Tadej who has enjoyed all this recent success is a super relaxed guy that’s a lot of fun off the bike and a great friend.

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Pogacar wins Tour de France

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We’re traveling together constantly so we’re lucky to have such a great group. Last year was an unusual year where I got to spend a lot of time with my family. I recently became a father in November, so I’ve really enjoyed my time off away from the road but I’m happy we’re back to some sense of normality and we’re back racing.

I’ve had a slow start to the season personally but felt really good in Italy and I’m getting back to my best. We’ve got a full schedule and I can’t wait for the Giro d’Italia in May. This race will be a big focus for me, and I’ll be doing all I can to get a result there for the team.

The Giro is one of my favourite races of the season, but my dream race would be to win the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Unfortunately, there will be no international spectators allowed to watch but I’m still looking forward to competing in the Olympics. Japan is an amazing host country and the people there are lovely – I can’t wait!

Besides the Giro and Olympics, I also love Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Strade Bianche and Tour of Flanders and hope we can make some progress as a team and win some Classics this year.

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Pogacar and UAE Team Emirates win UAE Tour

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