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Fly Emirates to sponsor UAE Abu Dhabi team

Previously state-sponsored team gets investment from airline

Josh Cunningham
21 Feb 2017

The UAE Abu Dhabi team has announced that Fly Emirates, the Emirati airline company, has been taken on board as a title sponsor, with the team adopting the name of UAE Fly Emirates. 

Racing under the name of Lampre-Merida last year, the team's license was taken over ahead of the 2017, with the new organisation set to race under the name of TJ Sport, a Chinese backer. TJ Sport pulled out late in 2016 though, and there were fears that the team might have raced its last season, but the UAE state took over and put in enough to ensure that the team would run. With the announcement of a commercial sponsor in Fly Emirates, the future of the team at least looks a little more secure, for now anyway. 

The team boasts British rider Ben Swift in their squad, who joined from Team Sky, as well as former World Champion Rui Costa and Tour de France top ten Louis Meintjies.

The airline is a big player in sports sponsorship, with investments in football, rugby, tennis, F1 and golf. The launch into the cycling arena makes sense for the Emirati airline, with the sport enjoying something of a boom in the region, with a multitude of races and now two WorldTour teams.

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