Irishman Dan Martin and Italian Fabio Aru will lead the UAE Team Emirates team at the Vuelta a España which takes place from August 25 to September 16. Aru won the race overall in 2015 and also took two stage wins in 2014, and Martin won a stage in 2011 during his five participations.
The pair will be joined by Valerio Conti who a stage in Urdax-Dantxarinea in 2016, Norwegian duo, national champion Vegard Stake Laengen and Sven Erik Bystrøm with three Italian Vuelta debutants rounding out the team: sprinter Simone Consonni and climbers Simone Petilli and Edward Ravasi.
“I really like the Vuelta for many reasons: the route, the climbs and especially the fans who have always shown great affection towards me,” Aru said. “I approach it with great enthusiasm and a desire to do well, also to repay the affection and support shown to me by the team, the sponsors and the fans since the Giro d’Italia.
“I arrive from a first part of the season in which I did not get the results I was looking for, but from the defeats you can learn important lessons and all this gives me great motivation. It will be a tactically open Vuelta, the nine summit finishes will lend themselves to attacks. And I must beware of short stages, they will have a big impact on the general classification.
“The competition is spread wide and level, thinking of Lopez, the Yates brothers, Urán and the captains of Movistar. Without forgetting that Nibali is making his race return.”
Team manager Joxean Matxin said: “We will have the chance to aim for outstanding results with high-calibre and experienced riders and, at the same time, to help some make a step ahead in their careers. Aru will be our man for the general classification, in addition we will be able to count on Daniel Martin, back from an excellent Tour de France and looking for more good results in some stage finishes particularly suited to him.
“Consonni will have the opportunity to show his talent in the sprints. And Petilli and Ravasi will have the responsibility of supporting Aru and Martin the best they can on the climbs, in addition to Conti.
“I also think the contribution of the Norwegian duo Laengen and Bystrøm will offer a well-rounded, robust team. Among other things, Bystrøm won the 2014 world championships as an Under 23 in Spain.”