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Reigning world champion Annemiek van Vlueten will ride for Movistar through the 2021 and 2022 seasons, the team announced Monday.
Van Vleuten, who will remain with Mitchelton-Scott through the end of 2020, is the most dominant racer in pro cycling and has been for the last two seasons. She is a two-time winner of the Giro Rosa, where she has also won ten stages, the winner of the last two editions of Strade Bianche, and a three-time world champion (with one title in the road race and two in the time trial) among other victories too numerous to list.
“My history with the Movistar Team goes back to many years ago. I got to know the team better as I shared training rides with them during my altitude camps in Sierra Nevada (Spain), back in 2014. I really liked the experience; it felt like a ‘Spanish family’ for me, I felt really welcomed by them as they were the first professional men’s team that invited me to join them in endurance training,” van Vleuten said. “The atmosphere with them was so relaxing: no stress on the training, waiting for me after the climbs, and also every evening, staying together after dinner, even playing table tennis with Alejandro Valverde.
“With regards to the women’s team, it feels the same – I look at them like a great group of girls, with the same culture as what I saw in Sierra Nevada. It’s a project that attracts me, as much as I’m looking forward to working with head of performance Patxi Vila. I’m really looking forward to improve together with the whole team, and enthusiastic about what lies ahead with them. I hope they can help me becoming even faster, also on the TT bike, in combination with Canyon, which looks like a high-end bike to me.”
Movistar’s women’s team, which is managed by Sebastián Unzué, has been slowly improving since its founding three seasons ago. It has a young roster, and the signing of van Vleuten marks a distinct step toward the very top of the sport.
“There is one Movistar Team before and one after Annemiek’s arrival, certainly,” Unzué said. “It’s been already three years of hard work from everyone involved in this project to set a solid, ambitious foundation, a team that aims at big goals, and her signing is a decisive boost to attain that objective.
“The approach of our team from a competitive standpoint in the next few years will drastically change with Annemiek’s signing. Her biggest sporting greatness is that she’s arguably the only rider who, in my opinion, can go for any race in the calendar with a real chance to win. It’s a great challenge for the team, and a big motivation. It makes us hope we can aim high and go for the win, or doing well, in the most relevant events of the season.”