Movistar has become the latest UCI WorldTour cycling team to launch a women’s outfit, with confirmation that the new squad will debut in 2018.
Movistar, which is backed by the Spanish telecommunications brand owned by Telefónica, is one of the leading men’s teams and has been linked with forming a sister squad in recent weeks. The news was confirmed today (Monday) with the new team set to comprise of around 10 riders, using the same name, kit and sponsors as the men’s squad.
Movistar is set to become the third International Cycling Union (UCI)-registered Spanish women’s team alongside Bizkaia-Durango and Lointek, however team officials have said they are unsure at present whether they will gain membership of the elite Women’s WorldTour for 2018 due to the narrow timeframes involved.
The new team is set to have a Spanish focus and has been formed in association with the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) as part of a wider drive to promote women’s cycling in the country.
RFEC president José Luis López Cerrón said: “When they called me from the marketing department of Telefónica saying they were weighing up the idea, I told them that it seemed perfect. Women’s sport is having a lot of success, but women’s cycling is having a hard time taking off.
“We have doubled the number of licenses in recent years… but we lack a great team. For the men, there are continental teams, professionals and the reference point that is Movistar. But for the girls we do not have that last step and the best riders have to emigrate.”
Movistar’s fellow WorldTour teams Sunweb, Lotto-Soudal, Orica-Scott, FDJ and Astana also operate both men’s and women’s squads.