Alvaro Hodeg will leave Deceuninck-QuickStep at the end of this season and join a growing sprint contingent at UAE Team Emirates.
The Colombian turned professional with the Belgian team in 2018 and has since racked up 13 victories, but he will head to UAE Team Emirates to link up with compatriot and former teammate Fernando Gaviria.
The team have also signed Pascal Ackermann from Bora-Hansgrohe, giving them a wide array of sprinting options, while those at Deceuninck-QuickStep are further reduced following the news of Sam Bennett’s return to Bora-Hansgrohe.
I’m arriving to the team with a lot of desire and ambition. It’s a similar feeling of excitement to when I first started riding bikes,” said Hodeg, who joins on a two-year contract.
The people I know in the team have spoken very highly about it and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I’m ready to work hard to achieve great things together here at UAE.”
The signing will have an air of familiarity given UAE Team Emirates manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez was the figure who effectively brought Hodeg to the WorldTour four years ago, during his previous role as a talent scout at the QuickStep team.
Hodeg burst onto the scene with five wins in his debut campaign and seven in his sophomore, but he struggled for form and confidence in 2020 and only recently rediscovered the taste of victory with a stage at the Tour de l’Ain.
“Hodeg is a huge talent. He has a lot of quality and is not only a talented bike racer but also a great person and the type of athlete we want in our team,” said Matxin.
We are convinced that cycling has not seen the full potential yet of what this guy can do. We want to see him get the best out of himself and I hope we’ll see him hit his stride here together with us at UAE.”
The arrival of Hodeg follows the signing of Ackermann and bolsters the sprint department after it was announced that Alexander Kristoff will join Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert alongside fellow Norwegian Sven Erik Bystrom.
UAE have also signed João Almeida from Deceuninck-QuickStep and Marc Soler from Movistar, while also adding more young talent in Juan Ayuso, Finn Fisher-Black and Felix Groß. They have already extended the contract of two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar through 2027.
At Deceuninck-QuickStep, Hodeg becomes the third confirmed departure, following Almeida, Bennett, and Shane Archbold, who will follow Bennett to Bora. In terms of sprinting, Fabio Jakobsen has signed a contract extension and Mark Cavendish could negotiate a new deal after a stunning return to form this season, while Elia Viviani has been linked with a return following two disappointing years at Cofidis.
Patrick joined Cyclingnews after a work experience stint in 2015 and hasn’t left. Prior to that, he studied French and Spanish at university and went on to train as a journalist. Rides his bike to work but more comfortable on a football pitch.