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by Dane Cash
May 7, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
A sport-wide hiatus on racing has not stopped UAE-Team Emirates from planning for the future. The squad announced on Thursday that it had signed rising star Tadej Pogacar to a lengthy contract extension, one that will keep the 21-year-old Slovenian with the team through the 2024 season.
“I turned professional here and I feel very comfortable with everyone. I believe in the team and I want to be part of this ambitious project,” Pogacar said in the team’s announcement of the news. “The next five years will be fundamental for the team and for my career, with the hope that they will be fruitful years for both parties.”
Pogacar initially joined the team at the start of 2019 after making a name for himself as a prospect. The 2018 Tour de l’Avenir winner wasted little time in proving that his potential could translate to WorldTour success, winning last year’s Volta ao Algarve and Tour of California before making a fantastic Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España.
Pogacar won three stages at the Spanish Grand Tour en route to finishing third place in the general classification.
He was off to a strong start this season as well, winning two stages and the overall at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and taking a stage and second overall at the UAE Tour before racing was halted across the board.
“Pogacar represents the type of rider that each team would like: talented with a strong will to learn every day. Values that will project him to the top of world cycling,” said UAE team principal Mauro Gianetti.
“Tadej won everyone over – not only with his results, but also with his attitude. The rest was just a matter of doing the paperwork.”