News | Team • June 11, 2020
Maximilano Richeze: The greatest five wins of my career
Choosing the 5 best wins in my career was not easy – I’m not a rider who wins very often as I am more of a lead-out rider. As a lead-out rider I have a specific role in the team. I am protecting the unit and our sprinters, until the moment is right for the sprinter to jump and unleash their sprint. For UAE Team Emirates I predominantly support the sprinters like my good friend, Fernando Gaviria. It is very rare I get the chance to win so when I can pull it off, it is always very special for me.
One of the most important races in my career were the Pan-American Games 2019 road race in Peru. It’s because of the history of the event; The first Pan Am Games were held in my home country, Argentina. Also, the way I managed to win is something I will never forget. I went solo to close a 1:30 time gap to a front group of six riders that were still away late in the race, and then I out-sprinted to win the race alongside the beach in Lima. I didn’t believe it was possible until the very last minute when we brought back the break and when the sprint opened up. It is a big race in Latin America, so it was a huge honour to win the gold medal for Argentina. I was 36 years old so I’m not getting any younger and off the back of a tough Tour de France this made the victory even sweeter. I was also the first Argentinian rider to take the title since 1959, which made it one of my most memorable races.
In second place, were last year’s Argentinian National Championships. They are held annually as the best riders of Argentina compete against each other. I haven’t competed very often in this race as the dates have never suited the European racing calendar. The race in 2018 didn’t go well but in 2019 I won in Santiago del Estero. I remained calm and followed the right moves inside the final hour of the event. With 150 meters to go I kicked out and I won the race by a bike length. Winning in front of my family and friends was a wonderful moment in my career. As a national champion I was able to wear the colours of Argentina for a year on my jersey and with the Tour the France that year I was even more motivated to win the race.
My third favourite race was the Vuelta San Juan in 2017, Argentina’s oldest and most important cycling race. I managed to win 2 stages. The fourth stage was crazy, there was a lot of rain overnight and the organizers had to neutralize the race in the final 20 kilometres. We lost Gaviria in a crash that day and the team decided that I would be the one to start the breakaway, which was very exciting. The fans always treat me well in San Juan and they were amazing. The reception I got in my home country made it extra special.
Another special moment in my career was the Tour de Suisse in 2016 – this was a very unexpected win for me as it was my first ever World Tour victory! My focus for that race was to lead out Fernando Gaviria but he lost the wheel on one of the corners and I ended up sprinting for the win. I was happy that I won this jersey, especially as it was the first time that I took the points classification in a World Tour event. The team did an amazing job and trusted and supported me throughout the race. It was an unforgettable week with the entire team.
The Tour de Langkawi in 2007 is a race I will never forget and makes up the last spot in my top five favourite ever races. It was my first race as a professional and also my first victory as a pro rider. I was a bit nervous at the start of the race, but soon my confidence levels grew as the race went on. I came from a breakaway of 25-30 riders and I was the quickest in the sprint – one of my happiest moments on a bike and the perfect start to my career.
It makes me feel so happy reminiscing about the past whilst writing about these moments. I love cycling and hope I can make many more memories with the UAE Team Emirates team and make the fans in the UAE proud. The team and I are staying fit and have received a lot of great support from our fans in the UAE – for that we are all very grateful and will look to repay their support on the bike very soon.