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Movistar Team heads into new season with strong reinforcements

Telefónica reaches 11th season as main sponsor for Abarca Sports organisation’s teams


Madrid – WEBWIRE
  • Colombian climber Miguel Ángel López, Puerto Rico’s Abner González, Spanish cobbled classics specialist Iván García Cortina headline men’s program’s additions; Soler, Mas, Alejandro Valverde remain on board
  • Annemiek van Vleuten, current European champion and the world’s most remarkable rider for the last three years, leads a new era for the Telefónica-backed squad’s women’s roster, with its strongest, most international lineup (14 riders)
  • Movistar Team’s 2020 season captured in detail at season 2 of ‘The Least Expected Day’, to be aired this spring on Movistar+, as they enter esports again in 2021 with the Movistar Team Challenge, taking ten riders to the top Zwift competitions with the Blue outfit for the very first time.

As it approaches the start of its 42nd season, the Movistar Team held a digital press conference on Thursday to unveil the key details of its sporting project for 2021. The Telefónica-backed squad will feature its longest roster in more than four decades, 43 riders to tackle a vast calendar which is scheduled to start in February.

The team launch was supported by José Mª Álvarez Pallete, Telefónica’s Chairman and CEO, Eusebio Unzué, General Manager of the Movistar Team and riders Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler, Enric Mas, Iván García Cortina and Annemiek Van Vleuten, who have stayed at the team’s Almería training camp for the last two weeks. Miguel Ángel López, in turn, joined them from lockdown in Madrid.

At the men’s team, five riders are new for the 2021 roster. Miguel Ángel López (COL), podium finisher in both the Giro and La Vuelta and one of the world’s best climbers, Iván García Cortina, Spain’s best asset for the cobbled classics, Two talented riders for all terrains, Gonzalo Serrano (ESP) and Gregor Mühlberger (AUT), and young hopeful Abner González, the first ever WorldTour rider from Puerto Rico and first Blue member born in the 2000s.

They all reinforce a lineup which still includes two of the most respected Spanish riders, Marc Soler and Enric Mas, plus Alejandro Valverde, who will reach the age of 41 on his bike for a legendary, two-decade career.

The event also helped the team present to the big public the new faces of a quite reinforced women’s roster for 2021. Amongst the additions shone Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten, current European road race champion, whose world titles and victories in all different and prestigious races have turned into the best rider in the women’s peloton for the past few years. Her arrival, together with the signings of American allrounder Leah Thomas and up-and-coming talents Sara Martín and Emma Norsgaard, is a great boost of confidence for the squad led by Sebastián Unzué, Pablo Lastras and Jorge Sanz. 14 riders are part of the women’s program, a member of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, the top tier in the sport, for the second year running.

The team hopes to keep making the fans enjoy this sport, the group “aiming to have them having a good time, even if still away from the roads, and thankful for their support at all times to give our best as both individuals and a group”.

Eusebio Unzué underlined that “it is a privilege for us to keep enjoying Telefónica’s support after all these years, and especially following such a difficult 2020 season, where we felt their support more than ever at moments really challenging for sports in general. We want to keep paying them back for their confidence as we continue working on the big changes this group will be following over the upcoming years – which we hope will lead us to great success alongside this brand.”

For José Mª Álvarez Pallete, “the Movistar Team is much more than a cycling team for Telefónica. It represents not only our values of teamwork, overcoming difficulties, but has also turned into an icon when it comes to equality in sports, and yet another proof of our commitment with sustainable development and our support to sports in Spain. To us, the Movistar Team feels like a display of everything that we can do when we’ve connected.”

At the event, both the team and the sponsor thanked the press for their work as a vehicle to communicate on the efforts of cycling, together with social media, during a 2020 season significantly harder for all sports.

The event also featured two other big headlines. ’The Least Expected Day’, a documentary series depicting the ins and outs of professional cycling with unprecedented transparency and realism, will see its Season 2, focused on the Movistar Team’s 2020 season, aired next spring. On the other hand, the Telefónica-backed outfit announced the imminent launch of the Movistar Team Challenge, a virtual cycling initiative in collaboration with Global Cycling Network and Zwift which will span the next month and a half, and make possible for ten riders -five women, five men- to become the first ever to defend the Blue colours at the Zwift Racing League, the world’s biggest esports cycling event.

MOVISTAR TEAM – 2021 ROSTERS

Men’s Team: Juan Diego Alba (COL), Jorge Arcas, Héctor Carretero, Dario Cataldo (ITA), Gabriel Cullaigh (GBR), Iñigo Elosegui, Imanol Erviti, Iván García Cortina, Abner González (PUR), Juri Hollmann (GER), Johan Jacobs (SUI), Matteo Jorgenson (USA), Miguel Ángel López (COL), Enric Mas, Lluís Mas, Sebastián Mora, Gregor Mühlberger (AUT), Mathias Norsgaard (DEN), Nelson Oliveira (POR), Antonio Pedrero, José Joaquín Rojas, Einer Rubio (COL), Sergio Samitier, Gonzalo Serrano, Marc Soler, Albert Torres, Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Verona, Davide Villella (ITA). General Manager: Eusebio Unzué. Head of Performance (both rosters): Patxi Vila. Sports Directors: Chente García Acosta, José Luis Arrieta, José Luis Jaimerena  Maximilian Sciandri (GBR), Pablo Lastras.

Women’s Team: Katrine Aalerud (NOR), Aude Biannic (FRA), Jelena Erić (SRB), Alicia González, Barbara Guarischi (ITA), Sheyla Gutiérrez, Sara Martín, Emma Norsgaard (DEN), Lourdes Oyarbide, Paula Patiño (COL), Gloria Rodríguez, Alba Teruel, Leah Thomas (USA), Annemiek van Vleuten (NED). Manager: Sebastián Unzué. Sports Directors: Pablo Lastras, Jorge Sanz.


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