Marc Hirschi will make his long-awaited debut for the UAE Team Emirates at Volta a Catalunya on Monday. The race runs from March 22 to 28 and has a fantastic field that includes Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).
The 22-year-old has not ridden since his shock move from Team DSM at the beginning of the year. He was supposed to run the UAE Tour in February, but spent almost the three months of the year on the sidelines.
His last race came in Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year, where he was second after Primož Roglič from Jumbo-Visma, but overall, 2020 was a huge breakout season for the rider from Switzerland. He won a stage in the Tour de France on his debut and followed it up with third in the World Championship race in Italy and a victory in La Flèche Wallonne.
Hirschi was part of the Team DSM presentation at the beginning of the year, but has his contract terminated by the team. They were not willing to specify the exact reasons for the sudden decision, and only said that they had ended the relationship a year before the rider̵
“Team DSM has reached a settlement agreement with rider Marc Hirschi to terminate their current employment before the original end date of December 31, 2021. It has been agreed that the agreement will be terminated with immediate effect and that no further comments will come,” read DSM the statement.
Speculation mounted on where Hirschi would wash up, but the UAE Team Emirates announced its signature just four days later with the rider joining a team that already included Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, Alexander Kristoff and Davide Formolo.
Volta a Catalunya will be Hirschi’s first race for the team, and he is also expected to run Pais Vasco and then a full calendar with the Ardennes Classics.
“I think it is a very exciting team we are bringing,” said team leader Matxin Fernandez in relation to the squad for Catalunya.
“After the great success of Pogačar in Tirreno-Adriatico last week, the team is as motivated as ever to go out and do a good race in Catalunya. We have enormous quality in the squad with a mix of young talents together with more experienced boys.
“With the depth of the riders we have here, we aim for GC, but we will also be challenging for victories at all possible stages. This will be the first time we see Marc Hirschi driving in UAE colors. We hope he can achieve good things with us. With its class and talent it certainly strengthens the team. ”
UAE Team Emirates for Volta a Catalunya: Camilo Ardila, David De La Cruz, Joe Dombrowski, Rui Costa, Marc Hirschi, Brandon McNulty and Sebastian Molano.