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by Dane Cash
October 20, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Rafal Majka, who is currently sitting sixth overall at the Giro d’Italia and less than 30 seconds off the podium, will join UAE-Team Emirates next season on a two-year deal, the squad announced on Monday.
The three-time Tour de France stage winner and two-time polka dot jersey winner has ridden with Bora-Hansgrohe since 2017, joining the German team after starting his career with the Tinkoff organization.
At UAE, he joins an ever-growing list of talented riders that includes new Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar. In Majka and fellow newly announced signing Matteo Trentin, the team has bolstered its lineup this transfer season with two accomplished veterans with a wealth of experience in the cycling’s biggest races.
That sort of firepower should come in handy as the team heads into next season with a much bigger target on its back thanks to Pogacar’s stunning 2020 Tour win.
“With Rafal, our group of climbers is getting a strong boost,” said UAE Team Principal Mauro Gianetti in a statement. “We are sure that in addition to being a solid wing-man for Tadej Pogacar, he will also be able to target his personal ambitions and be given some freedom.”
Majka, 31, has a long resume as a capable stage racer, having racked up six Grand Tour top 10s over the course of his career. He has finished as highly as third overall at the Vuelta a España (in 2015) and has also won his home stage race, the Tour of Poland. He also picked up two king of the mountains titles in a three-year stretch at the Tour, winning the polka dots in 2014 and 2016, and nabbed a bronze medal in the road race at the Rio Olympics.
“I am very happy to have been given this opportunity at this point in my career. I will work for Poga?ar when necessary, but I will also try to carve out chances for myself when I can,” Majka said. “Which? Races like Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour de Suisse and also the Vuelta a Espana, where I usually find good form.”