The last Italian WorldTour team has been riding in Arab colours since 2017. Following the 2016 Tour de France, Lampre announced that it had been purchased by a Chinese consortium, but the continuing existence of the team managed, in the shadow or in the spotlight depending on events, by Giuseppe Saronni since his last season as a rider in 1990, is actually being ensured by financing from the Persian Gulf: the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai airline Emirates.
Lampre used to focus on the Giro d'Italia. The best overall classification achieved by one of its riders in the Tour de France was Lithuanian Raimondas Rumšas' third place in 2002. Roberto Conti, the third Italian to conquer the Alpe d'Huez (after Fausto Coppi and Gianni Bugno) had finished sixth in 1994. Damiano Cunego came in seventh in 2011. The Italian laminated steel manufacturer’s blue-fuchsia jersey made its Tour debut in 1993, when Uzbek sprinter Djamolidine Abdoujaparov rounded off his best ever Grande Boucle by grabbing three stages and the points classification. The team ceased to exist from 1997 to 1999 due to a short-lived merger with Mapei, but the Galbusera family (father and son manage the company) put an end to the sponsor's hiatus in cycling with another sprinter, Czech Ján Svorada, who won Tour stages in both periods (1994 and 2001). Before bolstering its arsenal with Italian sprinters such as Daniele Bennati, Alessandro Petacchi and Sacha Modolo, the Lampre team rocked the Tour de France in 2002, when young Swiss Rubens Bertogliati took off under the flamme rouge and dashed the hopes of the peloton led by Erik Zabel, who would still remain the king of sprinting for some time.
Rubén Plaza's solo victory in Gap in 2015 was the last major feat by a Lampre rider. In its two previous starts as UAE Team Emirates, the team has fought for the general classification and finished in eighth place twice, first in 2017 with the slender South African Louis Meintjes and then last year with Irishman Dan Martin, who also became the first rider to win a Tour de France stage for an outfit based in the Middle East. Alexander Kristoff also added another notch to his belt with a triumph on the Champs-Élysées, while signing Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria makes the team an even more serious threat in bunch sprints.
Stage wins: 15
Secondary classification wins: 4
Yellow jerseys: 2
21: Tour de France starts by Lampre, which became UAE Team Emirates in 2017, since 1993 (continuously since 2005).
19 July 1994: Roberto Conti (sixth in the final GC) wins on the Alpe d'Huez with only three Lampre riders are still in the race: Conti himself, sprinter Ján Svorada and domestique Marco Zen.
7 July 2002: Rubens Bertogliati pulls off an exploit rarely seen in modern cycling by taking off in the final kilometre to thwart the peloton and take the yellow jersey.
12 July 2018: Dan Martin takes the first Tour de France stage win for a team based in the Middle East with a powerful kick in Mûr-de-Bretagne.
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