The World Tour’s newest team reveal how they’re planning to shake up cycling, both at home and on the professional circuit.
The newly formed UAE Team ADQ women’s team, who are using Campagnolo’s range of world-class groupsets and wheelsets, have started 2022 in formidable form, winning six times including three victories for Marta Bastianelli.
Here, we talk to press officer Giorgio Torre about the team’s goals for this season and beyond.
What is the aim of the team, both at the professional level and at home in the Emirates?
The season’s started in the best way for us from a sporting point of view with numerous victories. Of course, we would like that to continue and contest in the world’s most important races. But the main objective for our team is to be a source of inspiration for women around the world.
As it’s our first season, we will develop our riders step by step to become champions of the future.
In short, we are focusing our efforts to achieve outstanding performance and to maintain the best performance throughout the season.
How important are the likes of Marta Bastianelli and Mavi Garcia to the team?
Mavi and Marta are leading by example. Mavi is a rider who’s enjoyed significant performance development in the last few years and we are pushing her growth.
She contributes fighting spirit and perseverance to the team. On the other hand, Marta is an experienced rider committed to achieving her dreams. She sets the standard of focus, goal orientation and strength.
How have the team galvanised over the winter?
We had successful training camp in Alicante, Spain, where there were intense days of work, training, testing and kit fitting (clothes, shoes, bikes) plus it proved invaluable for sharing experiences and getting to know each other.
The birth of this team came with great enthusiasm.
Is there a European base?
Yes. The team’s European base is in Magnago, near Milan, Italy. The location is strategic due to two reasons.
First, it’s the UAE World Tour base, so it’s the same location as the men’s team (UAE Team Emirates). Secondly, it’s located near Malpensa airport, which makes it easier logistics-wise to be a hub and welcome our riders.
Campagnolo-using Tadej Pogacar’s clearly an inspirational cyclist. Has Pogacar spent any time with the women’s team?
Of course, Tadej and the UAE Emirates Team are our family. We will nurture a close relation among teams, not only for riders but for staff, too.
Can you tell us about Safeeya Al Sayegh, the UAE rider on the team? This must be a wonderful opportunity for her.
Safeeya has so far raced in Asia. She has won national titles and, in recent days, she has won the UAE national jersey at the Asian Cycling Championships where she also won a bronze medal in the time trial.
Like other young riders in the team, Safiya has the primary goal to develop and acquire experience racing in Europe and at international level. We are proud that she is the first UAE rider to compete at World Tour level.
Safeeya has opened the door not only for the UAE but for the Arab community as a whole. She is an ambassador of the UAE. In return, we are committed to supporting her throughout her development and to enhance the excellent cycling ecosystem that the UAE has created.
As a result, this will lead us to discover new talented young riders. For sure, there will be space for more riders from the UAE if the riders develop and prove they can race at international level.
Currently how popular is cycling at a recreational level in the UAE?
It’s becoming popular since the country started to promote cycling across the community, making the sport accessible to everyone and developing the right infrastructure with more than 1,000km of cycling tracks.
Abu Dhabi’s award of the ‘UCI Bike City’ label places the UAE capital at the forefront of embracing and enabling the concept of cycling for all in the Middle East.
Having two World Tour teams has motivated people to ride, and UAE Team ADQ has ambitious initiatives to grow the female community around cycling.
How far can this team go? Can they match the men’s team?
Anyone can go as far as their mind allows. We like to think big. We are committed to becoming the best female team. There are no limits to development, but it will take time and effort.
Finally, what are the team’s impressions of using Campagnolo gear?
The first impressions are very good. Campagnolo combines performance with exceptional design and aerodynamics. We are proud to race on Campagnolo for the 2022 season.