Mauro Gianetti: Tadej Pogacar's individual success is the result of the whole UAE Team Emirates effort
Each week a cyclist or member of UAE Team Emirates writes for The National, providing insight from the UCI World Tour and offering their thoughts on the season
I still haven’t quite come down from the exhilaration of watching Tadej Pogacar take his third stage victory at La Vuelta and then climb onto the podium in Madrid, not once but twice. The first time to collect the Youth Classification winners’ jersey and the second time he stood on the steps next to the world champion, Alejandro Valverde, and the race winner Primoz Roglic, after finishing behind them to claim third place in the General Classification.
I don’t think there are enough superlatives left to describe what a talent Pogacar is. He went into the Tour of Spain relatively unknown and quickly became one of the biggest stories of the race, dominating headlines across the world.
Whilst his individual performance deserves every column inch written about him, such high-profile success often overshadows not just the team effort that goes into winning the bike race – but also the impressive results which our other riders are achieving.
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Whilst a team of riders, sports directors, physios, chefs and backroom staff rallied behind Pogacar at La Vuelta, UAE Team Emirates had other teams deployed across two continents tackling a mix of stage and one-day races.
Alexander Kristoff - and one of our other young talents Jasper Philipsen - led a team in northern Europe at the Brussels Classic and GP Fourmies. Philipsen, in his first season on the WorldTour, was able to fight his way onto the podium with a second place finish behind in form rider Pascal Ackermann (Bora Hansgrohe) in Fourmies. Were it not for a crash in the finale, he may have even been able to get himself onto the top step.
Philispsen was also in action in Canada for the Montreal and Quebec Grand Prix races, though this time he was in support of Diego Ulissi. Ulissi has historically fared well in the North American races and he backed this up in Montreal with a second-place sprint finish behind Greg Van Avermat (CCC). The result came 48 hours after he finished just outside the podium spots in fourth at the GP Quebec.
Back in Italy we had squads competing in more one-day races at both the Coppa Agostoni and the Coppa Bernocchi. Simone Consonni powered his way to second at the latter of the two races, just behind Phil Bahaus (Bahrain Merida). His effort was inches away from giving the team back-to-back wins after Alexander Riabushenko had won the previous day at the Coppa Agostoni. It was the young Belarusian’s first professional victory, so a huge moment for him and us as a team.
As we near the end of our best season to date, part of my mind is already looking to next year and working with the staff to plan how we improve and come back in 2020 even stronger. But the other part is starting to reflect on what’s already been achieved. The results speak for themselves: 26 wins and 33 second places. Then we’ve been third a further 27 times. We’ve had four wins at Grand Tours, plus we held the pink jersey for 10 days at the Giro. This always puts a smile on my face because I am so proud of everyone involved in our project. I truly believe that 2019 has been another big step towards creating a leading team on the WorldTour.
That is our ambition. That is my goal.
Mauro Gianetti is team CEO of UAE Team Emirates
Published: September 20, 2019 10:16 AM