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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, December 17, 2018

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Telefónica to sponsor Movistar team through 2021

Here's the team's release:

Telefónica announced today the extension of their sponsorship agreement with the Movistar Team, which will prolong its commitment with the Spanish outfit through the end of the 2021 season, for both its men’s roster and the recently-established women’s outfit.

Movistar has been the team’s main backer for the last eight seasons, giving life to a legendary organisation in cycling, which will reach its 40th year of uninterrupted pro activity in 2019.

During those eight years, the Movistar Team has reached the top of the UCI WorldTour ranking four times (2013 to 2016); won two Grand Tours (2014 Giro d’Italia, 2016 Vuelta a España); claimed eleven podium finishes at GTs, two World Championships victories (Alejandro Valverde, 2018, and Rui Costa, 2013), a UCI Hour Record (2015) and 27 national titles.

Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde is Movistar's second world road champion after Rui Costa. Sirotti photo.

Its 257 individual victories have been obtained at five continents, including top-level, one-day classics and nearly all main World Tour stageraces.

Alejandro Valverde (a three-time UCI World / WorldTour ranking winner / leader and a podium finisher in all three Grand Tours) and Nairo Quintana (winner of Giro + Vuelta, and a three-time Tour de France podium finisher) are the riders who have obtained the biggest success for the Movistar Team. “Their individual triumphs are a consequence of their ambition and the whole team’s great work, a value which Telefónica identifies itself profoundly with,” said Telefónica’s global partnerships manager Rafael Fernández de Alarcón. “We also want to thank the team’s closure with their audience, the millions of fans who get to the roads around the world to cheer them on, or follow them through television and social media.”

For Eusebio Unzué, general manager of the Movistar Team, “Telefónica’s support was key to obtaining those results, especially considering that their backing started in a particularly difficult moment for our sport. Our commitment is to continue to live up to the values of these big brands, and represent their employees and clients across the world.”

In addition to their sporting results, the Movistar Team’s presence in the international peloton has helped bolster cycling’s significance as a whole in several aspects:

The squad as been a firm supporter of Latin American cycling’s growth (with notable names including Nairo Quintana, Richard Carapaz, Andrey Amador or Winner Anacona). Latin America, a key region for the Movistar brand, has already become cycling’s second most relevant market in the world by number of spectators, only behind Europe.

They’ve taken massive efforts to ensure gender equality with the creation of a pro women’s team, which shares methods and infrastructure with the men’s team. As well as obtaining big results in its first year, the team has also become Movistar’s main influx of support to women’s cycling, the brand also involved in diverse programs together with the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation.

The continuous incorporation of new technologies to training methods, including analysis through Big Data, IoT sensors and cognitive systems to plan on the best approach to races for all team riders.

The promotion of cycling as a sport for all, through initiatives such as the Movistar Bike Festival, with gathered 50,000 people together in Madrid last October to unveil Alejandro Valverde’s rainbow jersey.

An additional impulse to awareness campaigns, directed to both cyclists and drivers, on the importance of mutual respect on the roads, under the slogan #RodamosJuntos.

Astana 2019 team presented

Here's the team's release:

On the Indepedence Day of Kazakhstan, Astana Pro Team presented its renewed roster for the 2019 season. In Altea, Spain, where the team is preparing for the new season during a training camp, the team presented itself for the 14th season in the highest league of cycling.

- First of all I would like to congratulate everybody on the Kazakhstan Independence Day! Today, we presented 28 riders who will perform in the Astana colors in the new season. I think, that we managed to gather a well-balanced team, which combined experience and youth, specialists in various cycling disciplines. We have seriously strengthened some positions, which next year will allow us to fight for victories in the Grand Tours, prestigious stage races as well as in classics races. Last year was very successful for our team – our riders won 33 races and took 62 podium places. For two times, Miguel Angel Lopez stepped upon the podium of two Grand Tours, at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España. The goal for the new season is to be at least as successful as last year and try to overpass the results. I think that's realistic. Among the main objectives are the Grand tours and the WorldTour stage races, - said Alexandr Vinokurov at the end of the presentation.

2019 Team Astana

The 2019 Astana team is presented.

Nine newcomers of Astana Pro Team in the season of 2019 were introduced at the official presentation: Yuriy Natarov (Kazakhstan), Ion Izagirre (Spain), Gorka Izagirre (Spain), Davide Ballerini (Italy), Manuele Boaro (Italy), Merhawi Kudus (Eritrea), Jonas Wilsly (Denmark), Rodrigo Contreras (Colombia) and Hernando Bohorquez (Colombia).

The complete roster of Astana Pro Team 2019 includes 28 riders from 9 countries:

Davide Ballerini (Italy), Pello Bilbao (Spain), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kazakhstan), Hernando Bohorquez (Colombia), Dario Cataldo (Italy), Rodrigo Contreras (Colombia), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark), Laurens De Vreese (Belgium), Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan), Omar Fraile (Spain), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan), Jonas Wilsly (Denmark), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan), Jan Hirt (Czech Republic), Hugo Houle (Canada), Ion Izagirre (Spain), Gorka Izagirre (Spain), Merhawi Kudus (Eritrea), Miguel Ángel López (Colombia), Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan), Yuriy Natarov (Kazakhstan), Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain), Nikita Stalnov (Kazakhstan), Davide Villella (Italy), Artyom Zakharov (Kazakhstan) and Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan).

At the races the team will be managed by sports directors Dmitriy Fofonov (sports manager), Alexandr Shefer, Dmitri Sedoun, Stefano Zanini, Lars Michaelsen, Sergey Yakovlev, Assan Bazayev, Bruno Cenghialta and Giuseppe Martinelli.

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