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A sponsor from Abu Dhabi has saved the former Lampre-Merida team

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - ZENNARO - PERI

UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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NEWS
20.12.2016 @ 17:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Lampre-Merida team which was expected to become TJ Sport in 2017, will eventually be named UAE Abu Dhabi next season and will be part of the WorldTour.

 

With their application for a WorldTour license being put on hold for financial reasons, the team will be in the peloton next year but it is transformed into a new project due to the arrival of new sponsors from the United Arab Emirates. The Union Cycliste Internationale announced on Tuesday that the WorldTour license has been granted for the next two seasons to the team managed by Giuseppe Saronni. 

 

The original project was presented in September following an agreement between Giuseppe Saronni and Li Zhiqiang, boss of the TJ Sport group to make the first Chinese WorldTour team. However, there were problems at the end of November when the UCI unveiled the list of teams whose application had been approved for WorldTour membership. The Chinese team was in financial diffiulties and was omitted from the list. Some sources have since suggested that Zhiqiang had fallen seriously ill and that he abandoned the project. To survive, Saronni turned to the United Arab Emirates, and specifically Abu Dhabi.

 

This was enough to convince the Licensing Commission that ruled in favor of the team. The UAE Abu Dhabi team will not lose any of its riders, but the 120 million over 4 years promised by TJ Sport are no longer there. 

 

With this new addition to the WorldTour, the first division is now complete for 2017 with eighteen teams. 

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